SSS rank among all second basemen in the system: 1
2021 SSS Top Prospect Vote: 4
2020 SSHP Top Prospect Ranking: 4
2019 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 5
Nick Madrigal enjoyed a terrific run with Oregon State University, which culminated in a NCAA World Series championship. For his sophomore season, he slashed .380/.449/.532 in 60 games with 20 doubles, two triples, four homers, 40 RBIs, 16 stolen bases, 27 walks (9.6%) and 16 strikeouts (5.7%).
Despite missing much time to a broken wrist early during his junior year, Madrigal still managed to slash .367/.428/.511 in 42 games last year with nine doubles, four triples, three homers, 34 RBIs, 15 stolen bases, 16 walks (8.0%) and just seven strikeouts (3.5%).
Due to his unique combination of speed, defense and hitting ability, the diminutive Madrigal was selected by the White Sox with the fourth overall pick in the 2018 draft.
Madrigal played for three affiliates after signing (AZL, Kannapolis and Winston-Salem) and fared reasonably well for his first professional season. In 43 combined games in 2018 totaling 155 at-bats, he slashed .303/.353/.348 with seven doubles, 16 RBIs, eight stolen bases, seven walks (4.0%) and five strikeouts (2.9%).
Madrigal also played for three squads in 2019 (Winston-Salem, Birmingham and Charlotte). Ironically, the least success he enjoyed came with the Dash, where he still posted a respectable .272/.346/.377 line in 49 games with 10 doubles, two triples, two homers, 27 RBIs, 17 stolen bases, 17 walks (7.8%) and six strikeouts (2.8%).
After being promoted to Birmingham on June 6, he slashed an impressive .341/.400/.451 in 42 games, including 11 doubles, two triples, one homer, 16 RBIs, 14 stolen bases, 14 walks (7.8%) and just five strikeouts (2.8%).
Finally, for an encore, Madrigal was promoted to Charlotte where he slashed .331/.398/.424 in 29 games with six doubles, one triple, one homer, 12 RBIs, four stolen bases, 13 walks (9.7%) and five strikeouts (3.7%). For the year, Madrigal combined to slash .311/.377/.414 in 120 games with 27 doubles, five triples, four homers, 55 RBIs, 35 stolen bases, 44 walks (8.3%) and 16 strikeouts (3.0%).
MLB Pipeline ranks Madrigal hit tool at 65, which actually seems conservative, while his fielding and run skills are also graded highly at 60. This year, Madrigal won the minor league Gold Glove award for second base — which likely had something to do with his terrific range and his committing only four errors in 488 chances (just one error in 77 games with Birmingham and Charlotte). Madrigal’s arm is graded 50 by MLB Pipeline, which is satisfactory for second base, while his power grades out weakest, at 40. FanGraphs also published an excellent piece regarding the difficulties of evaluating Madrigal’s abilities.
After “seasoning” just long enough to surrender another year of control to the White Sox, Madrigal was called up in 2020, immediately inserted as the starting second baseman. Unfortunately, an ill-fated slide into third base separated his shoulder on August 4, just five games into his career.
Madrigal came back on August 29 and played the remainder of the season, at a 2.5-3.0 WAR pace — not a bad almost-rookie year, in the least. He flashed no power, with just three of 35 hits on the season for extra bases, and those all doubles.
Madrigal had offseason surgery to correct his shoulder, which gave him a slightly late start to spring training. But he is penciled in as the White Sox second base starter for, give or take, the rest of the 2020s.