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Madrigal, White Sox know power will come

No. 4 prospect aiming to gain strength in offseason, maintain same approach
September 24, 2018

CHICAGO -- The debut season for Nick Madrigal came to an end with Class A Advanced Winston-Salem's elimination from the 2018 Carolina League playoffs.His numbers were impressive over stops with the Dash, Class A Kannapolis and the White Sox Arizona Rookie League team, featuring a .303 average with eight stolen

CHICAGO -- The debut season for Nick Madrigal came to an end with Class A Advanced Winston-Salem's elimination from the 2018 Carolina League playoffs.
His numbers were impressive over stops with the Dash, Class A Kannapolis and the White Sox Arizona Rookie League team, featuring a .303 average with eight stolen bases and a mere five strikeouts in 155 at-bats. Madrigal, who was the team's top Draft pick in 2018 and fourth selection overall, also finished without a home run and seven extra-base hits.
Featuring a top-of-the-order profile as a hitter, the 5-foot-7, 165-pound middle infielder doesn't have to be a prodigious slugger. But as his career develops, Madrigal and the White Sox believe so will his power.
"I know these next couple of offseasons are going to be big in the weight room. I know I'm going to continue to get stronger," Madrigal told MLB.com during a recent interview. "I do see that being a part of my game."
"There's power in there. We've seen it with our own eyes," White Sox director of amateur scouting Nick Hostetler said. "We know that once he comes back next year that there will be some home runs he's going to hit. But ultimately, the main thing is to jump in that lineup, put the bat on the ball and keep moving."
And there lies the crux of this power discussion. Madrigal, Chicago's No. 4 overall prospect and No. 32 in baseball, should become more of an extra-base hitter with full health, a little rest following this long season and more experience, but neither the player nor the White Sox want it to come at the expense of a change of approach from what made him quite possibly the most elite hit tool in this past Draft class.
With Oregon State, for example, Madrigal hit eight home runs over three seasons with a single-season high of four. He knocked out 40 doubles, but more importantly, batted .361 with a .422 career on-base percentage. Let's not forget his 37 strikeouts over 612 at-bats.
"I'm not going to change my game at all," Madrigal said. "I know that [power] is going to come as time goes on, but I'm focused on more of the line-drive kind of approach rather than hit the ball in the air. I've always kind of known that's my job in the lineup. That's my game, put the ball in play, no matter if it's early in the count or later in the count. My dad has always told me if you put that ball in play, something could happen.
"A player could make an error, it could squeak through the infield. The White Sox drafted me for a reason, for the style of player I am. There are things I can definitely improve as time goes on. Those things I'll be open to, but I'm not going to change my style at all."
Madrigal played almost exclusively at second base during his first season, but he's currently working at shortstop with Omar Vizquel during instructional league action in Arizona. The 21-year-old took a break from that work to visit Guaranteed Rate Field on Monday along with his dad, Mike, his mom, Angie, and one of his brothers, Zack.
Manager Rick Renteria and players such as James Shields and Tim Anderson represented a few of the people Madrigal met Monday. In his chat with the media, Madrigal spoke on everything ranging from developing a first-year work routine to the disappointment of the Dash's playoff elimination.
"I've won at every level I've been at so far, going back to Little League, high school and college," said Madrigal from the White Sox dugout Monday. "That's something I want to continue doing. And it seems like this organization is the perfect fit for me."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.