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Monday, March 09, 2020

Sunday Notes: Nick Madrigal Doesn’t Try To Hit Home Runs Anymore

There’s no question that Nick Madrigal can hit. The Chicago White Sox drafted the sweet-swinging infielder fourth-overall in 2018 after he slashed .361/.422/.502 at Oregon State University — and he’s continued to rake. Last year, Madrigal put up a tasty .311/.377/.414 slash line between three levels, reaching Triple-A in his first full professional season.

Few doubt that the just-turned-23-year-old will be a solid big-leaguer, as his bat-to-ball skills come with strong defense at the second base position. The question is whether he’ll ever produce more than a modicum of in-game power. Madrigal stands 5’ 7”, and he’s gone deep just four times in 705 minor-league plate appearances.

Could he one day display pop? Mindful that 5’ 6” Jose Altuve homered 31 times last year, I asked Madrigal how much raw power he actually has.

“I have some in my swing,” Madrigal told me on Friday. “I’m getting stronger and stronger every year, so I do think power could be part of my game. I’m not too worried about it, though. People say, ‘When will you start doing that?’ or ‘When will you start doing this?’ But I know what kind of player I am. My job is to get on base. I can drive the ball, but I’m not going to go up there trying to hit home runs, or anything like that.”

Open thread for any baseball news of significance that we’ve otherwise missed.


QLE Posted: March 09, 2020 at 01:07 AM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: anthony gose, craig counsell, dave roberts, elden auker, goose goslin, jose garcia, nick madrigal, sunday notes

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: March 09, 2020 at 02:02 AM (#5928923)
377 is tasty, 414 not so much. Both numbers become substantially lest tasty if the ML BA is more 280 than 310, especially if the ISO also takes a hit. BPro is very high on him (#13 prospect) while BA and MLB are much less so (#48, #40). Steamer projects a 96 wRC+ which is more than fine for a good defensive 2B (though Steamer isn't sold on that yet); ZiPS to just a 88 wRC+ but really, really likes his defense (projection of +10).

Only 4 players qualified last year with an ISO under 100. David Fletcher led the way with a 97 OPS+ -- 390/350/384 is probably a good-case scenario for Madrigal. Next was Miguel Rojas at 90 then, coincidentally enough, two White Sox -- Leury Garcia at 84 and Yolmer Sanchez at 73. Sanchez had one David Fletcher year, one Miguel Rojas year and one Yolmer year leading to his non-tender. Given Madrigal is unlikely to be worse than Yolmer as a hitter and also reported brings a good glove, the move makes sense for the Sox.

I don't know that I've ever met a Madrigal but it's apparently a much more popular name than I realized -- one previous MLer and 14 in the minors/foreign.
   2. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: March 09, 2020 at 06:05 AM (#5928925)

That’s a lot of sacrifices!
   3. Walt Davis Posted: March 09, 2020 at 06:18 AM (#5928927)
That’s a lot of sacrifices!

Still not as impressive as SLG<BA.
   4. SG Posted: March 09, 2020 at 10:29 AM (#5928943)
His K rate is ridiculously low. I thought he broke my projection system when it projected him for 19K in 392 PA, but I see that most of his projections are similarly low.

Steamer has 447 PA and 25K, ZiPS has 532 PA and 25 K.

No qualified batter in MLB struck out fewer than 50 times last year.

   5. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: March 09, 2020 at 12:15 PM (#5928975)
Maybe he's Eddie Stanky with hits replacing half the walks.
   6. PreservedFish Posted: March 09, 2020 at 12:26 PM (#5928979)
Sounds like the next Jeff Keppinger
   7. Itchy Row Posted: March 09, 2020 at 12:28 PM (#5928980)
Sounds like Gordon Beckham too.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: March 09, 2020 at 05:14 PM (#5929092)
Shame on me for not noticing the crazy low K-rate.

Say it "jumps" to 50 K in 650 PA, add 50 walks, give him a 300 BABIP ... and it's a line of, say, 275/331/370 which is about an 89 OPS+. Reduce his Ks to under 20 and you raise the BA to 291 and add about 32 points to OPS which gets him in the 95-100 range which is more than adequate if the glove is as good as advertised. He's probably also a good baserunner although the SB/CS ratio is only around break-even. He would seem to have the speed to try at SS but hasn't played there in the minors so I'm assuming he doesn't have the arm for it -- so it might be 2B or bust (maybe CF?).**

Throwback players are always kinda fun and he should be an average starter for a few years at least and the last player I thought looked about 12 years old when he debuted turned into DJ LeMahieu so what do I know?

** I know the Sox don't "need" a SS but it never hurts to have positional flexibility.
   9. John DiFool2 Posted: March 09, 2020 at 09:56 PM (#5929137)
I don't know that I've ever met a Madrigal but it's apparently a much more popular name than I realized -- one previous MLer and 14 in the minors/foreign.

I've crossed the Madrigal Meridian.

And the Rubycon.
   10. Tom Nawrocki Posted: March 09, 2020 at 10:38 PM (#5929142)
No qualified batter in MLB struck out fewer than 50 times last year.

Willians Astudillo struck out 8 times in 204 PAs last year. He'd make it easily if he was worth having in the lineup.
   11. PreservedFish Posted: March 09, 2020 at 10:46 PM (#5929144)
He'd make it easily if he was worth having in the lineup.

He sure seems to be! He's a career .297/322/.424 hitter in the majors, and ZiPS likes him to match or surpass those numbers in full-time play. Stupid Twins with their stupid Mitch Garver breakout and their stupidly intelligent use of veteran lefty catchers to back him up.

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