CHICAGO -- There were Spring Training rumblings concerning Nick Madrigal -- the top White Sox pick in the 2018 Draft out of Oregon State and fourth selection overall -- making the Major League jump as soon as this season.
And over the past 13 games for Class A Advanced Winston-Salem in the Carolina League, the 22-year-old certainly has illustrated his value. Madrigal is hitting .345 with a .922 OPS during that stretch, including two home runs, 10 runs scored, nine stolen bases and one strikeout in 63 plate appearances.
“The guy still leads all of baseball in contact rate. He makes the most contact of anybody,” White Sox director of amateur scouting Nick Hostetler said of Madrigal, who is one of his four first-round picks since taking over as the man in charge of the Draft. “That’s what we drafted him to do. We knew he was a contact guy. We knew he was going to play Gold Glove second base. He’s done that.”
Madrigal -- ranked as the club's No. 5 prospect by MLB Pipeline -- has 21 extra-base hits over 334 at-bats since joining the White Sox system. Hostetler believes more power will come for Madrigal, but it’s not close to his most defining skill.
“We were talking about it in the Draft room today, how exciting it is to see Nick start to get the ball in the air a little bit more,” Hostetler said. “He’s Nick Madrigal. He’s going to want to win and he’s not going to strike out.”
Decision on Castillo looming
Catcher Welington Castillo still needed to be cleared Friday after being placed on the seven-day concussion list last Saturday. Manager Rick Renteria said a decision would be made on Castillo in the next day, with the White Sox scheduled to play at 1:10 p.m. CT on Saturday.
Castillo took a foul ball off his mask May 24 at Target Field, and while he felt good enough to stay in the game in the moment, he departed in the eighth and felt concussion symptoms later that night. The veteran had a headache for three days but felt great and was doing all baseball activity as of Friday.
“I’ve been running, doing exercises and in the weight room,” Castillo said. “I hit yesterday. I’ll do everything today. I caught a side today.
“I’m going to be ready. Whatever decision they need to make, they are going to make. The point is I feel good and healthy, so that’s all that matters.”
Opponents taking notice of White Sox
Count Cleveland manager Terry Francona among those impressed by the White Sox development in Year 3 of their rebuild.
“[General manager] Rick Hahn does a really good job here, and then Rick Renteria gets them to play. They always play. And that’s a compliment to Rick,” Francona told reporters. “Whatever talent you have, who knows. Everybody’s talent level is different. But he gets them to play. That’s the way it’s meant.”
Francona also pointed to the growth of young standouts on the current roster, as well as those on their way.
“They made probably some tough trades, but some really good ones. You’re starting to see some of that talent,” Francona said. “[Lucas] Giolito, yeah it took a little while, but now he’s becoming dominant. They got the kid [Dylan] Cease that’s coming. They got their left fielder [Eloy Jimenez] that I know they’re in love with.
“I don’t blame them. He might not be, you know, tearing the league up now, but that doesn’t mean he’s not going to be a really good player. They were patient with [Yoan] Moncada and now it’s starting to pay dividends. And [Jose] Abreu is one of the best there is. And the kid, [Tim] Anderson. Again, they’re pretty good.”
He said it
“No, man. We want to be in first place, and we want to keep working and keep getting better. We're going to stay hungry.” -- Anderson, on whether getting to second place in the division means anything to the White Sox