This afternoon, the White Sox announced that second baseman Nick Madrigal underwent surgery on his torn right hamstring. The surgery was successful, but Madrigal will not make another appearance for the 2021 White Sox. Madrigal is expected to return to action, without restrictions, next spring.
In 215 plate appearances in 2021, Madrigal was slashing .305/.349/.425 with a 117 wRC+, meaning he provided 17% more value at the plate than the average hitter. According to FanGraphs, Madrigal was more valuable as a hitter, a baserunner, and a fielder compared to 2020.
Madrigal’s baserunning was the biggest area of concern heading into the 2021 season. In fact, Madrigal cost the team 4.7 runs on the basepaths in 2020 despite only playing in 29 games. This season, however, was a different story, as Madrigal added 0.9 runs on the basepaths.
Madrigal was also a decent fielder this season (0.3 runs above average). This was a significant improvement over his 1.1 runs below average (in a small sample size) last year. Thanks to all of these improvements, Madrigal had already accumulated 1.4 fWAR/1.3 bWAR this season.
In the immediate future, Danny Mendick is expected to get the bulk of starts at second base. In 83 plate appearances, Mendick is slashing .229/.341/.343 with a 100 wRC+. During his limited time so far in the field, Mendick has already been worth 1.7 fielding runs above average, so the glove has been quite strong. His average bat and solid defensive play have already resulted in 0.4 fWAR/0.6 bWAR despite not seeing the field much.
Leury García is also expected to get more playing time in the near future. Overall, García’s 2021 stats (.246/.307/.314) leave a lot to be desired. However, in recent weeks, García has looked much better at the plate than he did at the beginning of the season. Since April 29, García is slashing .274/.350/.355, which is far more favorable.
The infield depth is being tested, and the White Sox are expected to be involved in the trade market as the deadline approaches.
Best wishes to Madrigal as he recovers from his unfortunate injury. It has been a pleasure to see him contribute as much value as he has, and I already look forward to when he can take the field again.