What Does Baseball Pause Mean For Nick Madrigal?

Madrigal had a strong 2019 season that ended with an impressive stint at Triple-A.

Bruce Levine
March 31, 2020 - 3:40 pm
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(670 The Score) The coronavirus pandemic that has left the MLB season in flux has created plenty of uncertainty beyond simply when we'll see baseball games again.

One of many examples of that is how minor league players will be affected on both a daily basis and in the big picture. On Tuesday, MLB confirmed that minor league players will continue to receive $400 in weekly pay through either May 31 or minor league opening day, whichever comes first, the Associated Press reported. 

What remains unclear is how contract control questions and big league promotion timelines could play out for minor league players, particularly top prospects who are on the cusp of making MLB rosters. For the White Sox, that's a question they could face on 23-year-old second baseman Nick Madrigal, the fourth overall pick in the 2018 amateur draft.

The previous assumption was that Madrigal wouldn't break camp with the White Sox but would be called up in the early portion of the season -- likely a month or so into the campaign, which would ensure an extra year of club control on the back end of Madrigal's contract.

Madrigal had a strong 2019 season, moving from high Class-A to Double-A and then Triple-A. He posted a slash line of .331/.398/.424 over 29 games and 134 plate appearances at Triple-A Charlotte.

He didn't fare as well in Cactus League play this spring, hitting .222 (6-of-27) with no extra-base hits and a .472 OPS before action was halted. Still, Madrigal had an upbeat attitude.

"I have always tried to show these guys what I can do," Madrigal said at White Sox camp before returning home amid the pandemic. "My style is to go out there and be one of the guys to help the team win on a daily basis. No added pressure or anything like that. I know a lot of people are wondering that, since things haven't been going that well out there. But I felt good. I just had not gotten the results I wanted. I have to be ready for Opening Day. That is when it really counts."

Madrigal has always been a confident player.

"I feel like I have played at a high level throughout my life," Madrigal said. "I have felt that way from college to every level I have played in the minor leagues. I am fully prepared for the challenge. There are little things to get ready for -- being in the right position on defense and other little details is nothing new to me."

Madrigal hit .311 with four homers, 55 RBIs, 35 steals, a .377 on-base percentage and a .792 OPS in 120 games across three levels in the minor leagues in 2019. He has an uncanny ability to put the bat on the ball, striking out just 21 times in 705 plate appearances in his minor league career. 

Hitting the ball with more authority on a more regular basis is his goal moving forward -- whenever it is that the games return.

"He has short movement to the ball, and he can put it in play," White Sox hitting coach Frank Menechino said. "But sometimes that is a bad thing. When you have the talent to put it in play, you start offering at a lot of pitches instead of being greedy and saying, 'I know I can hit that offering, but I am going to wait for a pitch I can really do something with.' So we are working with him to shrink the strike zone. Let's look for the pitches we can drive and make solid contact. With two strikes, use that ability to just get wood on the ball."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.