Nick Madrigal goes about his business, gets to work

First-round draft pick's personality, like his stature, flies under the radar

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — If you’re the type that gets your sports news from the National Enquirer or TMZ, then Nick Madrigal will greatly disappoint you.

I spent some time talking with the Chicago White Sox 2018 first-round draft pick during the Kannapolis Intimidators’ homestand against West Virginia this week, and it’s immediately apparent that flashiness is not part of Madrigal’s makeup.

“My family has always tries to tell us, ‘You can be confident, but stay humble as well.'” Madrigal told me. “I really think, as a leader, it’s about my team.”

Scour the Internet for Madrigal’s digital footprint and you’ll come across 70-plus posts on his Instagram feed, or a recently established Twitter handle (that, by the way, refrains from using the pronouns “I” or “me”). As of press time, he’s posted seven tweets, which matches the number of RBIs in his fledgling professional career.

“In life also, I try to help people as much as I can. It’s not all about me,” Madrigal said. “If I could choose between going to hit BP and doing interviews, I’d rather go hit, but I know interviews are part of the process, I’ve seen baseball and the way it works, I’m fully aware of it.”

The 21-year-old Madrigal hails from the Sacramento, Calif. suburb of Elk Grove.

“Ever since I can remember, we were always at a baseball field,” Madrigal said. “Me and my (fraternal twin) brother were bat boys for my older brother’s games, so we were always in the dugout with them. As we grew older, we played tournament and High School ball together.”

Nick’s brother Ty is currently going into his senior season pitching at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif.  “He’s a little bit bigger than I am. He got the height,” jokes Madrigal.

Madrigal is in his second week with the White Sox A-ball affiliate here in Kannapolis. He played on Oregon State’s national championship-winning team into June, and has made the quick transition into the Chicago minor league system after the White Sox drafted him with the No. 4 pick. He signed for slot value.

“I knew the style of play wouldn’t be much different from college. I wasn’t worried about that.” Madrigal said. “It’s definitely a great feeling being here and actually playing with the guys and seeing how much talent is around this organization, I’ve enjoyed my time.”

Kannapolis shortstop Luis Curbelo has been working on chemistry while turning a few double plays with Madrigal during this homestand.

“It’s been fun,” Curbelo said. “Nick’s a really humble guy. I see the way he plays hard, he can swing it, and he runs fast, so it’s been fun.”

Curbelo has already seen another top prospect get a tune-up in Kannapolis this season. Highly touted prospect Luis Robert was with the Intimidators earlier for two weeks this season.

“(New guys) always ask a lot of questions, such as game tempo and how the manager wants things done.  We just try to help each other out.”

As Kannapolis manager Justin Jirschele tells it, first impressions weren’t a problem.

“I tell everybody first and foremost, (Madrigal’s) makeup is off the charts,”  Jirschele said.

“He played all the way through the College World Series, now he comes here and he’s playing every single day and  going through the grind of BP, ground balls, and weight lifting as well as late nights and bus rides. For me, its trying to get him his breaks here and there and make sure he stays healthy.”

The minor leagues being what they are, it’s about player development over wins and losses. But Madrigal says it’s the team’s goals that matter as he approaches the last month of the 2018 season.

“I know myself as well as the rest of the guys in the locker room, the only thing that’s on our mind is winning,” Madrigal said. “We go out there every day to win the ballgame. I know we’re in a close playoff race, so we’re gonna take it one game at a time, show up everyday prepared to win.”

And as far as the path to the big leagues is concerned, Madrigal knows he can only control so much.

“It’s kind of out of my hands, that decision,” Madrigal said. “I know the (White Sox) organization has a plan. Whenever they need me, I’ll be ready.”

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
Jonathan Lee
Jonathan Lee
Articles: 2
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This pick restored my faith in Hostetler and Crew.
If he stays healthy, I truly believe this kid will be a force from the leadoff spot and at 2B.

sausalito pale hose

You are probably right; I can’t stop thinking of Johny India.


With Madrigal very likely our second baseman of the near future, wouldn’t it make sense to move Yoan to third now so he is comfortable there when our playoff window opens?


I don’t believe so. It’s still too soon to even say if Madrigal or Yoan will be on the team let alone contribute when a potential playoff window were to open. Obviously in an ideal world they would be but still too soon


I was a huge fan of Nolan Gorman. He screams Arenado at me