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White Sox first pick: Nick Madrigal

Oregon State second sacker comes to Chicago, at No. 4

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Cal State Fullerton vs Oregon State
Pick to Click: Madrigal, rumored all along to be going to the White Sox, brings polish and peskiness.
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

In a move that surprised few, the White Sox selected Oregon State second baseman Nick Madrigal with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2018 MLB First-Year Player Draft.

“Nick is recognized as one of the best hitters in college baseball, and we’re excited to add him to the organization,” said Nick Hostetler, White Sox director of scouting. “He possesses tremendous baseball skills, character and makeup, and we look forward to watching him compete for the national championship before joining the White Sox organization and beginning his professional career.”

Oregon State is still alive in the battle for the college crown (as pointed out below by Knoxfire30, OSU next plays on Friday at noon CST vs. Minnesota, broadcast on ESPN2), so Madrigal’s slash line of .406/.470/.586 is not ready to be printed on the back of his baseball card just yet.

“It’s definitely a special moment,” Madrigal told MLB Network upon being drafted, from a room filled by his supportive Beavers teammates. “I can’t thank all my teammates enough.”

Madrigal has a top-notch batting eye and doesn’t strike out. At 5-foot-7 and 165 pounds, he doesn’t hit for power, but can hit gaps and use his speed to pile up extra bases. Madrigal was the consensus best hitter in the draft.

“I’ve always hit at the top of the order,” Madrigal told MLB Network. “If you put the ball in play, good things can happen.”

For all the “scrappy hitter” talk, though, Madrigal’s calling card is plus-plus defense at second base, with talk of future Gold Gloves for him. The White Sox are so confident in Madrigal’s defense, he is slated to begin his rookie ball career this summer at shortstop.

Though not injury-prone, Madrigal suffered a left wrist injury early this year that held him to just 32 games this season.

“I’ve never dealt with an injury before,” Madrigal said after he was picked. “I tried to stay positive through it. I’m thankful it wasn’t season-ending.”

Madrigal bounced back with that terrific 1.056 OPS so far this season, with five strikeouts and 13 walks. He’s added seven doubles, four triples and three homers, as well as a perfect 11-for-11 in steal attempts.

Madrigal so far has a .370 average with 38 doubles, 11 triples, eight homers, 101 RBI, 123 runs scored, 35 steals, and a .431 on-base percentage, .519 slugging percentage and .983 fielding percentage in 141 games over three seasons at Oregon State. He was picked by Cleveland in the 17th round of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft out of Elk Grove (Calif.) High School, but did not sign.

There weren’t many surprises at the top of the draft, with pitcher Casey Mize going No. 1 to the Detroit Tigers, catcher Joey Bart No. 2 to the San Francisco Giants and Alec Bohm No. 3 to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Further reading: SBN’s Oregon State blog, Building the Dam, had a writeup of the Madrigal pick as well.

Further viewing: The Joy of Being Picked Fourth

The highlight reel:

And the White Sox war room: