Nick Madrigal is very good at hitting the baseball. The NCAA knew that after he helped lead Oregon State to its third national championship last month. The White Sox knew that when they took him fourth overall and officially signed him for a $6,411,400 bonus 12 days ago.
Now the South Atlantic League is learning too.
Madrigal went 3-for-4 with a double, a walk, two runs scored and a stolen base in his Class A Kannapolis debut Tuesday afternoon to help lead the Intimidators to a 10-9 win over Hagerstown at Intimidators Stadium.
Gameday box score
"I think everything should translate pretty well," Madrigal said. "How aggressive I am on the basepaths should translate. Hitting the ball if it's in the zone. Obviously, these are different situations, and I definitely don't have it all figured out yet. But I'm just taking it all in from the coaches that I had in Arizona and the ones I have here. I feel confident in the way I play, and I'm just going to be the same player I've always been."
The 21-year-old started at second base and batted third to begin his Sally League career. He walked on five pitches in the first inning before notching his first hit on an opposite-field single to right in the third, later coming around to score on a triple by Craig Dedelow. After being retired on a groundout in the fourth, he picked up his first professional extra-base hit in the sixth when he dropped a double down the line in right and scored again on a bases-loaded walk by Anthony Villa later in the frame. Madrigal picked up his third hit by lining a single up the middle in the seventh.
His three hits not only gave him the first multi-hit game of his Minor League career, but also gave him one more knock than he had during his entire five-game stay in the complex-level Arizona League. The right-handed hitter went just 2-for-13 (.154) without an extra-base hit with the White Sox affiliate. He missed a week of action due to a hamstring injury, but played in four straight games from Thursday to Sunday before his promotion to Class A.
"It was something that kind of lingered around from the college season," Madrigal said of the injury. "It was nice to get a couple of days to get it together, because it does feel a lot better now. I probably could have kept playing, but in the long run, it was probably the smart thing to do when we had the time to care of it. My body's feeling good now, and I have no restrictions."
The Sacramento native was a career .361 hitter during his three years at Oregon State and batted .367/.428/.511 over 42 games as a junior before becoming the first infielder picked in 2018. Given his size at 5-foot-7, 165 pounds, Madrigal didn't show much power in college and hit only three homers this spring, but he does have tremendous bat-to-ball skills, having struck out only seven times in 201 plate appearances as a junior. In fact, he finished his college career with more doubles (40) than strikeouts (37). Mostly a second baseman during his days at Corvallis, Madrigal has played shortstop and second so far in the White Sox system.
Less than three weeks aftere lifting the NCAA trophy in Omaha, Madrigal says he's still getting settled into professional life on the diamond, but if Tuesday is any indication, the Sally League might like him even less when he does officially become comfortable at his new level.
"It's been a really long couple of weeks," Madrigal said. "There's really been no down time. I got back to Oregon, then two days later, I had to go to Chicago and it was straight down to Arizona after that. Now I'm here. I still have to take it all. Once things settle down a little, I think I'll be able to appreciate every thing that's happened lately a little more."
No. 21 White Sox prospect Evan Skoug tripled, doubled and drove in four runs to help drive the Kannapolis offense.
No. 27 Nationals prospect Armond Upshaw went 4-for-5 with a double and three runs scored for Hagerstown.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.