Without much fanfare, Nick Madrigal gets started

White Sox first-round pick signs for slot value and plays his first game

The White Sox don’t return home until Tuesday, so they couldn’t afford Nick Madrigal the usual experience a first-round pick receives — signing a contract in Chicago, taking batting practice, throwing out the first pitch, etc.

Today’s the deadline for 2018 draft picks to reach an agreement, so fanfare had to back a backseat to pragmatism. Madrigal signed for slot value — $6,411,400 — to join the fold, and the White Sox announced it with a press release and a conference call with reporters.

The White Sox also agreed to deals with 14th-rounder Davis Martin out of Texas Tech ($130,000, or $5,000 against pool) and 33rd-rounder Bryce Bush, who was assumed to be a tough sign away from Mississippi State. Alec Valenzuela, selected by he Sox took in the 34th round, told FutureSox he’s heading to junior college, but 34 out of the first 35 is a pretty good conversion rate.

* * *

Madrigal told reporters he still felt fresh considering he missed half of Oregon State’s title run with a wrist injury, saying, “I only need a couple days to swing the wood bat, get used to this. But yeah, I’m I’m ready to go.”

He said he’s going to play in the Arizona Rookie League a few days, after which he’ll head to Kannapolis on Sunday. He’s starting at shortstop at both levels.

Some other notes from the call:

Whether his height has affected his mindset: “I’ve always worked extremely hard, even in practice, all year long. When I get on the field I feel I’m the best player out there. I’ve understood from a young age there’s always going to be people saying different things and not always on your side. I’ve always embraced that. I wouldn’t even call it a chip on my shoulder. I just accept what I have.”

On shortstop or second: “It doesn’t really matter to me, and I do mean that.”

On his plate discipline: “In the cage, I try to stay disciplined, but I also try to hit pitches outside the strike zone. Umpires sometimes are all over the place, so I really try to not let them take control and leave it in their hands.”

On his power: “My job is to get on base. I’ve always played that way. I’m going to steal bases, I’m going to hit balls in the gap. I’m not going to change my game at all. I do believe that I’m going to hit for more power. In the offseason I’m going to push myself to lift heavier and things like that. I feel confident I believe that’s going to come here soon, but I do understand that some guys get paid to do that. I understand my game is a little bit different.”

(He delivered this answer while somebody had Spanish TV or radio blaring in the background.)

On Chicago: “Just driving around the city and seeing the whole layout of everything, I could definitely see that being a home for me, and somewhere I want to win for and hopefully bring a parade back to that city one day.”

* * *

And just like that, Madrigal was playing his first game in triple-digit heat down in the Arizona Rookie League on Thursday night.

He came to the plate three times, getting clipped his first time up …


… after which he was picked off. He was plunked again his third time up. The one time he got a chance to swing the bat in between, he grounded out.

Madrigal scored on his second trip on the basepaths, after which he was done for the day. The box score shows Madrigal committing an error, but the aforementioned Kim Contreras and Sean Williams, along with Baseball America’s Bill Mitchell, all pointed out a diving stop to start a 6-4-3 double play.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Lurker Laura

I like his attitude about umpires. Will serve him well if he can execute it at pro levels.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Hopefully we’ll have robot umpires by then and it won’t matter.


His stated approach to hitting balls out of the zone strongly supports my Vlad Guerrero, Sr. comp for Madrigal.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Wow, now that you mention it, they’re essentially the same player.


I can’t be certain that Madrigal can throw it over the fence from home plate, but I haven’t seen him try and fail. It will be tricky keeping the two straight.

Trooper Galactus

Yup, that should clear up any confusion.

lil jimmy

Finished the draft with a flourish. Great to get Martin Signed.
Bryce Bush signing caught me by surprise. Perfect Game had him ranked #53. Big power and ran a 6.76 60.
I was waiting for just the right player,…. and dibs.

I’m giving Nick Hostetler four stars.


Wow, that’s the best news of the week! I thought Bush was going to Mississippi State.

Josh Nelson

Mississippi State went in another direction for Head Coach.



6. Bryce Bush, 3B/1B, De La Salle Collegiate HS, Warren, Mich. (BA Rank: 402)
HS • 6-0 • 205 • R-R •
Bush has some of the best pure bat speed in the 2018 class, with lightning quick hands through the zone that he uses to produce lots of hard contact and above-average power. His swing is extremely unorthodox however, with a very low handset and drop in his load and he gets into his launch position at seemingly the last possible second. Combined with a steep uphill bat path, scouts are worried about how Bush’s swing will play as he gets to more advanced levels, though he’s made it work against high-end velocity at times over the summer. A righthanded corner infielder, Bush has an outside shot to stick at third, but most evaluators see him as a first baseman, which makes his profile even more daunting and risky. He could do well to clean up his swing at Michigan and prove the bat speed is enough to project as an impact hitter.


lil jimmy

Signed for $290,000. The Sox spent a lot of “do- ra- me” on day three picks. I bet more than any other team.


Well, I guess if they’re locked into not-spending $3.5M on international guys, they can stomach the price tag to lure some similarly high-risk dudes away from college.

His hands are fast and I’m certainly no expert, but that is a very weird load: https://t.co/q84puzAWjq


Or about 1/16th of a 2018 Miguel Gonzalez.

Eagle Bones

So in terms of the pool money, they’re in the same situation as the year they drafted Rodon (where they went over and had to pay a tax, but no penalty in terms of picks or anything), right?

lil jimmy

they have bean counters who wouldn’t let them go into the penalty. It sure looks like they spent right up to the limit.
Not like the old days, that’s for sure.

Josh Nelson



I think the Sox would be better served with Madrigal at second and Moncada at third. He would be a gold glove caliber 2b. Moncada has shown to be error prone on routine balls at second- it looks like he just gets lackadaisical on some plays. Having an infield of Moncada-Timmy-Madrigal in 2020 would look awfully good.

Eagle Bones

The guys at FG seem to think the move would be Moncada to CF to take advantage of his speed (which wouldn’t be leveraged as much on the infield). Though I would assume Moncada sticks at 2nd at least until Madrigal forces the issue. Depending on what happens between now and then, I could also see Madrigal breaking in as a highly used utility guy similar to what the Phils were trying to do with Kingery before Crawford got hurt (playing some 2nd, SS, 3rd and maybe even a little OF).

Greg Nix

I think Moncada and Madrigal have similar speed grades, no? Maybe Moncada’s arm would play better, but it seems like Madrigal has a better build for CF despite the height difference.

Eagle Bones

Madrigal’s infield actions are apparently light years ahead of Moncada. I believe it was Kiley who described him as a wizard around the bag.

Trooper Galactus

That’s a pretty lousy assessment by FG. Know who else was fast? Lou Brock. And he sucked shit in LEFT field. Until I see recaps with Madrigal hammering AA and AAA pitching, I’m not even thinking about “where will Moncada play?”


Can we just ban “Where will we fit Madrigal?” until he’s played more than one professional game?

That way we can get back to our important discussion about Tyler Flowers and the role of pitching framing


Right! Bickering about where a guy who has a .000 BA in AZL will play is meaningless.

But seriously guys, so next year Timmy moves to CF when Laz Rivera gets called up?


Futures Game Roster came out. Dylan Cease on the US team, and Basabe on the World team.


Hopefully they had white out. Otherwise I feel like there are ink lines through some paper somewhere that at one point read “Eloy,Kopech, Robert, Dunning”


Considering the two first rounders who didn’t sign are both Mississippi State signees, yoinking a late rounder from them seems like great success.