Chicago White Sox have their eye on OSU's Madrigal

 
 
Updated 5/26/2018 6:21 PM
hello
  • Oregon State second baseman Nick Madrigal, left, seen here tagging out Cal State Fullerton's Dillon Persinger in the College World Series last year, could be a prime candidate for the Chicago White Sox with the No. 4 overall pick. But some skeptics wonder if Madrigal could make the shift from second base to shortstop in the majors.

    Oregon State second baseman Nick Madrigal, left, seen here tagging out Cal State Fullerton's Dillon Persinger in the College World Series last year, could be a prime candidate for the Chicago White Sox with the No. 4 overall pick. But some skeptics wonder if Madrigal could make the shift from second base to shortstop in the majors. Associated Press File Photo/June 17, 2017

Taking to social media the other day, I asked Chicago White Sox fans who they want with the No. 4 overall pick in the June 4 draft.

The suggestions quickly came pouring in, and there was expected support for the Sox taking collegiate stars like Florida starting pitcher Brady Singer, Louisville third baseman Alec Bohm, Georgia Tech catcher Joey Bart, Auburn starter Casey Mize and Florida third baseman Jonathan India.

There were also a few "not Courtney Hawkins" pleas, a not so subtle reference to the Sox swinging and missing on the former Texas high school phenom with the No. 13 overall pick in the 2012 draft.

When all of the replies were tallied for the upcoming draft, there was one name that rose above the rest.

Nick Madrigal.

Small in stature at 5-foot-8, 165 pounds, the Oregon State infielder has already been compared to 5-6, 165-pound Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, the near unanimous choice as American League MVP last season.

Heading into Saturday's Pac-12 game against UCLA, Madrigal had a sizzling .409/.473/.583 hitting line for the No. 2-ranked Beavers. The right-hander missed seven weeks of the current season with a fractured left wrist, but Madrigal returned to the OSU lineup on April 20 and has been nothing short of spectacular.

If the Detroit Tigers, who hold the No. 1 overall draft pick, San Francisco Giants (No. 2) and Philadelphia Phillies (No. 3) pass on Madrigal, the White Sox appear to have their guy.

Sox amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler is very familiar with the 21-year-old All-American, and general manager Rick Hahn traveled to Los Angeles last weekend to watch Madrigal and Oregon State play Southern California.

There is no doubt the White Sox can envision Madrigal's bat in the lineup as soon as next season, but what about his position?

Madrigal is playing second base for the Beavers this year, but has also played shortstop.

Yoan Moncada is entrenched as the Sox's starter at second base while Tim Anderson is still trying to prove he can be the everyday shortstop.

Could Madrigal play short in the major leagues?

"We're at a point right now, due to the fact that he's played second base all year, we have to go back and look through our notes and back to what we saw in high school, what we saw with Team USA, what we saw prior to him getting moved over to second base at Oregon State," Hostetler said.

Cadyn Grenier is the main reason Madrigal is playing second base for the Beavers this season.

"(Grenier) is a terrific defensive shortstop," Hostetler said.

If Madrigal is available at No. 4 and the Sox pick the Elk Grove, Calif., product, expect immediate questions about his defensive position in professional baseball.

The White Sox are used to the scrutiny. When they drafted Zack Collins No. 10 overall in 2016, skeptics said he'd never cut it as a catcher.

There were similar sentiments last year, when the Sox drafted Jake Burger with the No. 11 overall pick. The third baseman tore his Achilles tendon for the second time in early May and is expected to be out 12 months.

The White Sox seem open to having Madrigal play shortstop.

"It's going to be something that is part of the evaluation," Hostetler said. "I think you're going to have some guys that feel he can play shortstop and there are going to be some guys that feel he can't.

"It's all splitting hairs. Whether it's Nick or any other player we take, we're going to try to put them in the best position to help maximize their value. I think Nick's a guy … ultimately some teams that do pick Nick will probably put him at shortstop."

Get articles sent to your inbox.

Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.