Sox Prospect Nick Madrigal Not Far From Big Leagues

"This is a young man who is extremely gifted," Rick Renteria says.

Bruce Levine
February 21, 2019 - 12:12 pm

GLENDALE, Ariz. (670 The Score) -- With the White Sox losing out in the Manny Machado sweepstakes, the path for touted infielder prospect Nick Madrigal ascending to the big leagues appears clear.

The No. 4 overall pick in the 2018 amateur draft, Madrigal could join the White Sox and become their starting second baseman and a top-of-the-lineup hitter as soon as late summer. Filling such a role would represent the lofty expectations that the White Sox have for the diminutive Madrigal, who's listed at 5-foot-7 and 165 pounds. Madrigal spent three seasons at Oregon State, and the organization believes he's is a near-finished product in terms of the development that's needed at the minor league level.

Madrigal, 21, hit .303 in 43 games across three levels in the minor leagues in 2018, when he also hit .367 with a .939 OPS at Oregon State.

Just 173 plate appearances into his professional career, Madrigal is oozing confidence.

"I don't really have a timeline goal," he said. "I just need to play as hard as I can to show them how I play and go about my business. If I do that, the rest should take care of itself."

For older White Sox fans, the feisty Madrigal may bring back memories of Hall of Fame second baseman Nellie Fox, who played 14 of his seasons with Chicago in a career that stretched from 1947 to 1965. Fox was a 12-time All-Star for the White Sox and like Madrigal was small in being listed at 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds. Fox was the American League MVP in 1959, when he hit .306.

The two share another trait: They're extremely difficult to strike out. Fox struck out only 216 times in 10,351 career plate appearances. Madrigal struck out only 37 times in his three-year college career and just five times in his initial minor league season.

Madrigal is part of White Sox camp in spring training, and he's caught the eye of manager Rick Renteria and his coaching staff.

"This is a young man who is extremely gifted," Renteria said. "We love everything we have seen from him so far. We are going to give him an opportunity to get his feet wet in professional baseball this spring. The little that we have seen so far makes me believe that this process will transition for him very easily. He is a pretty bright young man -- very well-spoken, quietly confident. Time will tell us when that transition will come. We are very happy to have him."

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