The Chicago White Sox will begin a three-game set against the Kansas City Royals on Friday night, and they'll have the No. 4 pick in the 2018 draft in the lineup when they do it. Second baseman Nick Madrigal, who CBS Sports ranked as the 26th-best prospect in the game entering the spring, was promoted to the majors on Friday afternoon, the team announced.
Madrigal, 23, is an outlier among modern professional hitters. Whereas the league's strikeout rate has climbed over the past decade as batters have become conditioned to swinging for the fences, his game revolves around making contact at extreme rates. For his career, he's recorded 51 walks and 21 strikeouts -- or, in about 2.9 percent of his plate appearances. In 2019, no qualified big-league hitter struck out in fewer than 9.1 percent of their trips to the dish.
Madrigal is on the smaller side (he's listed at 5-foot-8, 175 pounds) and power has never been, and likely never will be, a major component of his game. It's to be seen if he's strong enough to capitalize on mistakes, and whether pitchers will force-feed him strikes if not.
To Madrigal's credit, he is considered a good defender at the keystone, and one league source said that he "runs like a [mother's intimate friend,]" giving him some secondary value to fall back on.
The White Sox had started Leury Garcia at second base in five of their first six games. While Garcia has an unusual line to date (he hit.182/.250/.455 over the first six games), this move has more to do with the service-time ramifications than it does with Garcia's play over the past week or Chicago's relatively slow start. By holding Madrigal down for the week during this shortened season, the White Sox have effectively gained a year of control over his services.