‘Magic’ Madrigal Matters — Minor League News and Notes, 6/3 to 6/9

Another MLB draft has come and gone, and with it comes a big, beefy 1B bat with plenty of contact and power to share joining the organization to usher in the future.

The Sox filled one of their biggest organization needs by picking up Vaughn. Assuming his development goes according to plan, his college bat could be in the White Sox lineup sooner before later. But, some could argue the biggest news of the week went under-the-radar as the draft dominated the collective conscious of #baseball.

2018 first round pick Nick “Magic” Madrigal (s/o James Fegan, quoting Rick Renteria.) made his way to Birmingham, after putting up a .272/.346/.377 line in 218 Winston-Salem at-bats. He hit 10 doubles, three triples and a pair of home runs on top of that. He stole 17 bases and was caught four times. He walked 17 times and struck out only six.

Close your eyes and imagine this future lineup.

  • C Zack Collins/Seby Zavala
  • 1B Andrew Vaughn
  • 2B Nick Madrigal
  • SS Tim Anderson
  • 3B Yoan Moncada
  • LF Eloy Jimenez
  • CF One of the many fourth outfielder types in the Sox system, maybe Luis Alexander Basabe?
  • RF Luis Robert (FWIW I'd love to be wrong and see him stick in center)

Madrigal, who went 3-4 in his first appearance in Birmingham, doesn’t have the power-filled bat of Jimenez, Robert, Moncada or even Anderson. But the rebuilding picture that was muddled before the beginning of the season is starting to take shape. And maybe this is me drinking too much of FanGraph’s Kool-Aid but Madrigal looks is going to be an integral part.

The White Sox are running Madrigal and his advanced bat through the farm system as fast as they can. 2020 is not out of the picture and, although highly unlikely, he may stop by Chicago for a short cup of coffee this September if his bat continues to hit according to plan.

Madrigal has been compared to one other height-impaired middle infielder generously since he was drafted. This middle infielder posted career numbers of .299/.365/.439 and 46.7 career WAR through 6,777 plate appearances. He struck out 654 times and walked 624 career times.

But where Dustin Pedroia failed, Nick ‘Magic’ Madrigal’s profile projects to succeed. He will never have Pedroia’s power (which topped out with a 21 homer season), but he’ll hit, he’ll field, he’ll steal bases and most importantly, he’ll walk. The White Sox have plenty of power, but Madrigal gives them a leadoff hitter and an answer up the middle.  

With that, here’s what you need to know this week.

Prospect performance highlights

Kannapolis OF Ian Dawkins and RHP Johan Dominguez will represent the Intimidators in the 60th Annual South Atlantic League All-Star Game. Dawkins was also named the South Atlantic League’s Player of the Month for May.

  • Besides a few too many walks, Winston-Salem LHP Konnor Pilkington threw 5.2 innings of two-run, two-hit ball June 3. He gave up two runs and struck out eight while walking four.
  • Birmingham OF Luis Robert went 3-4 with a double June 3. The Eric Oliver was wrong train has left the station and I’ve hopped off to hop on the hype train. Up to June 3, the Birmingham OF has gone 25-60, with seven doubles, two triples, a home run, a walk, and 10 strikeouts. He has a .417/.435/.650 slash.
  • Speaking of Dawkins, through June 4, he extended his on-base streak to 30 games. He also rode a 19-game hitting streak.
  • Kannapolis RHP Jonathan Stiever threw seven shutout innings June 4. He gave up four hits, struck out seven and walked none.
  • Robert continued hitting going 3-4 June 4. Robert’s 14-game hit streak came to an end June 5.
  • Birmingham pitcher RHP Zack Burdi threw another scoreless inning June 5. He struck out two and gave up a hit.
  • Charlotte LHP Justin Nicolino threw seven innings of two-run ball June 6. He gave up nine hits, one walk and struck out five. That same game, C Zack Collins went 2-3 with a home run.
  • Winston-Salem OF Craig Dedelow went 3-4 with a double and a home run June 6.
  • Newly promoted 2B Nick Madrigal went 3-4 with two stolen bases June 6. That same game OF Blake Rutherford went 3-4 with two stolen bases.

Transactions

Injuries

  • Birmingham placed RHP Jimmy Lambert on the 7-day injured list June 4
  • Birmingham OF Luis Alexander Basabe was placed on the 7-day IL, retroactive to June 1
  • Winston-Salem LHP Cristian Castillo was placed on the 7-day IL on June 8
  • Kannapolis placed C Gunnar Troutwine on the 7-day IL June 5

Activated

  • Birmingham activated C Alfredo Gonzalez from the temporarily inactive list June 3
  • Kannapolis activated 3B Johan Cruz from the 7-day IL June 8
  • Kannapolis activated OF Bryce Bush from the 7-day IL June 4

Assigned

  • White Sox OF Job Jay was sent on a rehab assignment to Charlotte
  • Birmingham C Daniel Gonzalez was promoted to Charlotte
  • Birmingham LHP Tanner Banks was promoted to Charlotte
  • Birmingham 2B Mitch Roman was demoted to Winston-Salem
  • Winston-Salem RHP Jordan Stephens was promoted to Charlotte
  • Winston-Salem 2B Nick Madrigal was promoted to Birmingham!
  • Kannapolis OF Travis Moniot was assigned to Winston-Salem

Optioned

  • The White Sox optioned RHP Jimmy Cordero to Charlotte

Recalled

  • The White Sox recalled Charlotte RHP Thyago Vieira

Released

  • Charlotte released 1B DJ Peterson
  • Great Falls released 1B Michael Deeb and 1B Micah Coffey

Team Performances

  • Charlotte posted a 5-1 week (35-26 overall, .5 games back). Who would’ve seen this coming? The Knights are challenging for first. If you would’ve told me coming into the season that the Knights would be close to first, I would’ve laughed all the way to the bank. But in a recurring theme, I’m wrong once again. Let’s see how long the Knights can stay competitive. They finish the rain-shortened series against Louisville and squeeze in a quick game against Durham before heading to Syracuse and Rochester.
  • Birmingham went 4-3 for the week (25-37 overall, 13 games back). Rain, rain, go away, come again another day. The Barons also had mother nature hammer their schedule. They’ll play three at Mobile before heading to Jacksonville to hopefully fry up some shrimp.
  • Winston-Salem had a 3-0 week (34-24 overall, 8.5 games back). If you tried to follow the White Sox affiliate this week, you had to fight a plethora of cancellations. Hereto, the Dash were not immune. After starting off the week on fire, five games against Myrtle Beach were all rained out. We will pray for sunnier days as the Dash take on Salem and Carolina.
  • Kannapolis compiled a 1-3 week (26-35 overall, 19.5 games back). With the second-fewest rain cancellations of the bunch, the Intimidators went back to playing like the opposite of their namesake. As far as their play has gone, let’s hope for brighter days in the second half. They go to Greenville for three before coming home for four against Greensboro.
  • Great Falls opens their season in four days.

News and Links

The 2019 FutureSox Draft Tracker is live, including the White Sox’s entire draft class, slot bonuses and links to analysis. We’ll also update the draft tracker once the draftees sign.

Editor-in-chief Clinton Cole sat down with White Sox Director of Amateur Scouting Nick Hostetler to talk about the 2019 draft. Give it a listen and subscribe because we have more draft coverage coming. Speaking of Hostetler, MLB.com’s Scott Merkin spoke to him after the draft, and he had nothing but high praise for Cal 1B and new White Sox draft pick Andrew Vaughn.

Ken Sawilchik wrote-up our analysis of first round draft pick Vaughn. James Fox evaluated second round pick RHP Matthew Thompson. Mike Rankin examined third round pick RHP Andrew Dalquist and he broke down fourth-round draft pick James Beard. If speed kills, Beard has killed us all.

Julie Brady continues to produce excellent game stories from Winston-Salem. Her latest.

D1 Baseball’s Aaron Fitt analyzed Vaughn speaking highly of him. Perfect Game shared their profile of White Sox second round pick RHP Matthew Thompson.

NBC Chicago’s Chuck Garfien spoke with Cal coach Mike Neu on Vaughn, his quote? “He’s definitely the best hitter I’ve ever coached.”

In case you needed even more analysis, here is The Athletic’s James Fegan on Vaughn as well.

The Sun-Times Daryl Van Schouwen shared some choice quotes from White Sox manager Rick Renteria on MAdrigal’s promotion to Birmingham.

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    I see six sure bets among the future core position players listed. I am excluding the catchers and your CF suggestion.

    I don't envision the Zack Collins/ Seby Zavala tandem in the White Sox future. The potential on offense is questionable and the defense even more so. I see Collins sticking as a much needed left-handed power bat but as a backup catcher and a platoon option at DH and perhaps 1B.

    I believe Luis Robert is a sure thing in the future lineup and will be given every chance to fail as the White Sox future in CF. I also see Robert as the White Sox future leadoff hitter with 2B Nick Madrigal being utilized as the perfect #2 grunt hitter. In fact, the organization seems to agree with that thinking. Robert has almost exclusively been used in the leadoff role and Madrigal has been hitting second since the early portion of the season when they actually had him batting third more often than not. I like the speed and stolen base potential of both players but prefer the better contact hitter in Madrigal batting second.

    Aside from Collins in a potential platoon role, the only other sure fire left-handed bat belongs to switch-hitting 3B Yoan Moncada. I believe that adding another left-handed bat to balance out a predominately right-handed hitting lineup will be a priority for Rick Hahn in the coming year. Most likely that bat will be their future RF but could also be their next CF with Robert sliding over to the corner. I love the notion of adding more pure hitters who make great contact like Madrigal and Andrew Vaughn. I also prefer excellent defense. This is why I still maintain the White Sox should go hard after Dodgers left-handing hitting RF Alex Verdugo who also happens to possess a cannon for an arm.

    With a primary starting catcher also needed down the road, the White Sox may look to lock up veteran James McCann who is arbitration controllable through next season. He and Collins would make an intriguing duo in 2020. If extending McCann is not the plan then the White Sox would be wise to reconsider FA switch-hitter Yasmani Grandal this offseason. They reportedly had interest in him this past offseason and may have extended him a multi-year offer before the veteran agreed to his one year pillow deal with the Brewers. If the White Sox feel confident enough in landing Grandal with a multi-year offer next winter they might even look into selling high on McCann by next month's trade deadline.

    Btw: I still hope the White Sox can land 22-year old Cuban SS Yolbert Sanchez when the new international signing period begins on July 2nd. He was a former teammate of Robert in Cuba and can play plus defense in MLB right now with a 65-grade glove and 55-grade arm. I can imagine Sanchez and Madrigal as a potential Gold Glove duo at SS/2B, much like Luis Aparicio and Nellie Fox were back in the 'Go-Go" era. The question regarding Sanchez is his ability to hit. If he can be adequate the White Sox should be able to live with him in the #9 hole with all their other promising bats. Having Sanchez play SS would then give the White Sox the option of moving Tim Anderson to the OF, either as a potential CF candidate or maybe even to LF with Eloy Jimenez becoming their primary DH. The worst case scenario would have Sanchez becoming the White Sox primary reserve infielder in their future plans, perhaps supplanting Yolmer Sanchez in that role when Madrigal debuts at 2B.

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