CHICAGO -- The 2018 baseball season marked a long but productive one for Nick Madrigal.Despite fracturing a bone in his left wrist, Madrigal hit .367 with 42 runs scored, 34 RBIs, 16 combined extra-base hits, 15 stolen bases and a mere seven strikeouts over 180 at-bats in helping Oregon State
CHICAGO -- The 2018 baseball season marked a long but productive one for Nick Madrigal.
Despite fracturing a bone in his left wrist, Madrigal hit .367 with 42 runs scored, 34 RBIs, 16 combined extra-base hits, 15 stolen bases and a mere seven strikeouts over 180 at-bats in helping Oregon State to the College World Series championship. As the fourth pick overall by the White Sox in the 2018 MLB Draft, Madrigal hit .303 with 25 runs scored, 16 RBIs and five strikeouts in 155 at-bats split between three Minor League stops.
Madrigal, ranked the club's No. 5 prospect and named to the 2019 All-Defense Team by MLB Pipeline, finally got a break beginning in early October following instructional league action in Arizona, spending time with his family and taking a trip to Hawaii with his girlfriend. But with Spring Training approximately one month away, the talented middle infielder is ready for action after letting his body heal a little bit.
"Toward the end, my body was pretty beat up like everyone else," Madrigal told MLB.com before joining his friends and teammates on a White Sox Minor League trip to the Dominican Republic departing on Monday. "You go through a long season and you are going to have little kinks and stuff.
"Once I got the time off and got back in the weight room, it was nice to get back in there. I enjoy preparing for the season and taking ground balls, hitting, weight room. I love doing that stuff. Once I got the break I needed, I was ready to get back into it. I don't need any more time off."
Class A Advanced Winston-Salem became Madrigal's highest level of competition in 2018, with 98 at-bats and 26 games played. Yet there has been some mentions of Madrigal rising to the White Sox infield as quickly as later this season.
Of course, the possible free-agent signing of infielder Manny Machado immediately would change that configuration in the short term and long term. And while the White Sox appreciate the advanced status of Madrigal as a three-year college starter, there's no reason to rush him to the Majors.
"He's got a really good sense of how to play the game," said White Sox director of player development Chris Getz, who also is part of the Dominican trip. "He's got a really strong feel of his skill set. Therefore, he certainly is ahead of others. With that being said, we are just getting him started.
"Last year, he was just getting a taste of professional baseball after having a long successful college season. He's just experiencing his first offseason as well and now going into his first Spring Training. There's certainly no reason to get ahead of ourselves, or he needs to get ahead of himself. It's pure preparation mode and I'm sure he's champing at the bit to get that first full pro season under his belt."
There's very little worry on Madrigal's part as to what level he will begin at in 2019 or whether he's at second or shortstop, taking ground balls at both spots as he prepares while working with his dad. He's more focused on getting back with his friends and playing White Sox baseball.
"They are the core group of players and know we are the ones who are going to change it with the people they are bringing in," Madrigal said. "Everyone knows [the White Sox] have a plan, and we are not afraid to talk about it.
"We know that something hopefully soon is coming and it's all exciting. Not one person in the organization is questioning it or what's going to happen here. It's exciting to see what happens."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.