CHICAGO — The White Sox selected 5-foot-7-inch infielder Nick Madrigal with the No. 4 pick of the draft.
Madrigal is expected to play second base in the majors, though Sox scouting director Nick Hostetler said he can play either short or second. The White Sox chose Madrigal over Florida ace Brady Singer, going for offense over pitching with their first pick.
Madrigal has speed, defense and great strike zone discipline. He’s batting .406 with seven doubles, four triples, three home runs, 32 RBIs, 32 runs scored, 11 stolen bases, a .470 on-base percentage, .586 slugging percentage and 1.000 fielding percentage in 32 games for Oregon State.
Madrigal has been compared to Boston’s Dustin Pedroia, a smaller second baseman with a so-called “dirtbag” personality.
“That’s been the (comparisons)” Hostetler told the Tribune. “The Pedroias, the (Jose) Altuves, that group of guys. We tend to take all the little guys and throw them into a boat, I guess. The easy comps. But yeah, that’s who you get a lot. And that personality is very similar.”
Madrigal missed the first part of the 2018 season with a broken wrist, but before the start of the NCAA Tournament he hit .395 in 119 at-bats with only five strikeouts while playing error-free ball.
“If you’re going to hit at the top of the order, you’re not supposed to strike out all that much,” he told MLB Network.
Madrigal is semifinalist for the USA Baseball Golden Spikes and Dick Howser Awards, and was the Pac-12 Player of the Year.
What Madrigal lacks in size, he makes up for in hustle.
“He’s unbelievable,” Oregon State coach Pat Casey told the Sacramento Bee. “He’s going to be a big leaguer in a short period of time. He’s going to play the game for a long time. His instincts are off the charts. I give him a ton of freedom because he’s a thoroughbred and you’ve got to turn him loose.
“Whoever drafts him will get an absolute jewel of a player. If you had a blueprint of a baseball player, Nick’s picture would be there. That’s all you’d need — Nick.”