Less than a year and a half ago, Nick Madrigal was a college student at Oregon State University. After leading the Beavers to a College World Series title in June 2018, he embarked on his pro career with the White Sox as their fourth overall pick in the 2018 draft. In his first full professional season, his rise through the White Sox minor league system led him to the Knights on July 31 for his Triple-A debut. Before the regular season ended, he sat down to talk about his journey in becoming a mainstay at the top of the Charlotte lineup.
Q: Growing up, is there anyone you tried to emulate as a player?
A: I enjoyed watching Derek Jeter. I admired his game, the way he carried himself, especially in the playoffs and in the big moments.
Q: You got called up to Charlotte on July 31, were you expecting that call?
A: I had no idea. I was just focused on the game for Birmingham. As soon as Omar Vizquel told me, I was very excited. I was hoping there was a chance I could get here. He told me, and then I packed up my stuff and came here the next day.
Q: Did you think you would get to Triple-A so quickly after getting drafted?
A: I knew it was possible. I knew that I couldn't think about it all that much. If I just played my game then maybe that could happen. They didn't tell me anything. I had it in the back of my mind that it was possible.
Q: What was the hardest adjustment from Double-A to Triple-A?
A: Honestly, the hardest part was just packing up my stuff and moving from city to city. Trying to figure out where you're going to live is one of the toughest parts for a player. The baseball is pretty similar.
Q: You quickly became the leadoff hitter for this team, what is your mindset at the top of the lineup?
A: It's something I've done my whole life. I feel comfortable with it. Sometimes you need to look at a few pitches or sometimes you need to be more aggressive. I feel comfortable doing whatever the team needs me to do.
Q: Your first Triple-A home run was an inside-the-park shot on August 16. What do you remember from that at-bat?
A: It was nice. When I hit the ball, I knew I hit it pretty well and then I saw the outfielder go down and I knew there was a chance. When I got the wave to go home, I was pretty excited. I can't remember the last time I hit one of those, probably going back to little league.
Q: How difficult was it to integrate yourself in this clubhouse full of older players?
A: I've played with older players my whole career. It's something I'm used to. There's a lot of familiar faces from spring training in this clubhouse so I already knew most of the guys.
Q: The 2019 Knights have the potential to be stars in Chicago for a long time. Have you ever thought about that?
A: It's definitely very exciting. It's very realistic. We have a very dangerous lineup when you have that top of the order along with all of the other pieces we have in this organization. The White Sox fans have a lot to be excited for in the future and I'm happy to be a part of it.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.