In the past, size was a major factor in deciding whether a player should even be looked at, let alone where they were drafted. With that said, Nick Madrigal has been a scout’s dream since he was in high school.
Now—as the top college player in the draft— the 5-foot-7 middle infielder is a consensus top-10 draft pick.
Nick Madrigal 2018 MLB Draft Profile
Nick Madrigal is a right-handed middle infielder from Oregon State University. The 21-year old stands at 5-foot-7 and 160 pounds. He’s mostly played second base in college—and projects to stay there—however, could play shortstop with ease.
Madrigal is a native of Elk Grove, California. He was a two-time All-American for Elk Grove High School in 2015. Madrigal was drafted in the 17th round of the 2015 MLB Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. However, he committed to playing college ball at Oregon State.
As a freshman, he played 49 games and hit .333/.380/.456 with eight steals and more walks than strikeouts in 195 at-bats. He received Freshman All-American honors. As a sophomore, Madrigal was one of the best players in Division-1 baseball. He was the Pac-12 Player of the Year, slashing .380/.449/.582 with 20 doubles, 16 steals and 27 walks against 16 strikeouts in 237 at-bats. More importantly, Madrigal was the team leader for the Beavers, leading them to a 54-4 record heading into the College World Series where they were defeated in the semi-finals. Madrigal was selected to the All-Tournament team.
Madrigal broke his wrist sliding into home in a February home game against Ohio State, an injury which has sidelined him for much of the 2018 campaign. However, he has shined in his limited action, slashing .395/.459./.563 in 119 at-bats.
Madrigal is a dream player for major league scouts, mostly because he can do anything. He has an aggressive offensive approach combined with a trained batting eye. His bat speed and bat control are both elite. He has blistering speed, and John Sickels with MinorLeagueBall.com sees Madrigal as “an ideal combination of instincts, athleticism, and aggression.” He is an above-average defender at second base and grades as a future perennial Gold Glove winner.
In short, Madrigal checks all the boxes. Scouts know this. They have known it going back to when Madrigal was drafted in 2015 out of high school. Combine that with his track record at Oregon State and Madrigal is the best college player in the draft. Plus, Madrigal will only need a small window of time to develop in the minor leagues before making his ascension to major league baseball.
Any weakness describing Nick Madrigal comes from his size. Madrigal is one of the smallest players in this year’s draft class, and he would be among the smallest players in baseball at the major league level. The power is below-average, but that draws more toward his size than his ability to power up baseballs.
For one thing, teams do not draft players with Madrigal’s size in the first round, let alone the top five picks. Yet, the fact that teams are looking at Madrigal in the top five picks despite his size shows his talent level. Modern baseball has had a surge of small talent that packs a punch. From Dustin Pedroia to Jose Altuve to Ozzie Albies, small middle infielders can provide immediate value to a ballclub. With that said, those players are the outliers.
Despite his ability, it is a reach to take a player of Madrigal’s size among the first five picks. Again, it is just a testament to how great of a player Madrigal is.
You can compare Madrigal to any middle infielder under six feet, but he compares most to Pedroia, a .300 career hitter with four Gold Gloves. That’s the player Madrigal could be. A solid, everyday middle infielder who is consistent at the plate and dynamic in the field.
When looking at the top-ten picks in the draft, nothing comes closer to a sure thing than Nick Madrigal. He could go first overall, and he will not slip below the top-ten.
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