The extra I take into consideration the Nick Madrigal state of affairs with the Cubs, the extra I do not like eager about it. There’s no nice approach to take care of it. I’m going to say a bunch of phrases about that immediately, however I’ll inform you proper now I wind up again in the identical place the place I’m beginning. No excellent end result.
Most of the dialogue about Madrigal proper now’s about how the Chicago Cubs may commerce him to a crew in dire want of a second baseman, and for good purpose, given the center infield modifications this offseason for the crew. He actually may very well be higher than a mere back-up-type possibility, and with out common begins towards massive league pitching, it isn’t clear that he’ll actually get an opportunity to bounce again to the man he may very well be.
In different phrases, whereas I hate the concept of giving up Madrigal for a comparatively small return (he’s nonetheless high quality depth and has minor league choices remaining!), I acknowledge that it could be finest for all concerned to make a commerce occur.
Again, although, any return in a commerce for Madrigal, whose 2022 season was marred by underperformance and harm (after a 2021 season that ended early due to a really dangerous hamstring harm and surgical procedure), is essentially going to be very modest. I feel we and the Cubs must be ready for little or no, and that was BEFORE contemplating how there have been doubts about Madrigal as a full-time massive league common even earlier than 2022. I kinda forgot about that half.
Speaking of how Madrigal is perceived, even when wholesome…
Baseball America simply wrote about former notable prospects who’ve graduated, however who’ve thus far failed to actually set up themselves within the massive leagues. You’ll acknowledge nearly each identify within the group, and it is a reminder of how not each big-time prospect makes it, and/or how lengthy it may take for even the most effective prospects to determine themselves within the massive leagues (in the event that they do it at all): Jo Adell, Jarred Kelenic, Victor Robles, Carter Kieboom, Nick Senzel, Christian Pache, Alex Kirilloff, Keston Hiura, Luis Patiño, Francisco Mejia, Daniel Lynch, Justus Sheffield, Scott Kingery, Taylor Trammell, Evan White, Ryan Weathers, anddddd Nick Madrigal.
Madrigal, who was the fortieth ranked prospect at BA earlier than getting a giant league run with the White Sox in 2021, remains to be solely 25, and did produce a bit final yr with the Cubs when he was lastly wholesome (but it surely was actually solely a sizzling months). I might see how, in case you had been one other group, possibly you see him amongst these names and take into consideration a change of surroundings and a little bit extra time to determine himself. Heck, I’m doing it with a couple of of these different names myself.
But BA included a scout’s tackle every of those gamers, and I gotta say, the assessment of Madrigal is each bitter and comprehensible:
“To me, there is no such thing as a MLB carrying instrument as a result of his capability to make contact will not be impactful. He’s not a plus runner, he isn’t a plus defender, he would not have a plus arm and he would not have energy.
“It’s a tough profile. He’s a contact bat that does not strike out however would not stroll. He’s not a feared hitter in a lineup. I simply do not see him as a man who can impression the sport in any means, and it is onerous for him to be a utility man as a result of he cannot play the left facet of the infield. He cannot hit leadoff as a result of he would not get on base sufficient and he cannot hit second as a result of he would not run and he cannot drive a ball out of the park. So the place do you place him? I simply do not see a significant league function for him.”
What made Madrigal attention-grabbing DESPITE these limitations is that his contact capability was SO excessive that he was a real 99th percentile outlier. If you are placing everrrrything into play, then you definately truly barely have to high .300 along with your BABIP to run a .300 batting common … and, in flip, you barely have to take any walks to then put up an above-average on- base proportion It’s a bizarre approach to do issues, sure, however a Madrigal who hits .300/.340/.360 is a considerably helpful man!
But if the contact fee (or contact high quality) suffers no matter – as each did final yr – he in a short time turns into un-rosterablenot to mention un-startable.
Meanwhile, Madrigal is setting about refuting a part of that scouting report as we converse.
Jed Hoyer mentioned that Madrigal could be getting time at third base to attempt to improve the flexibility a bit – needed if he’ll get at bats on this Cubs crew if everyone seems to be wholesome – and positive sufficient, it is occurring. Rich acquired the proof:
Now we simply have to know whether or not the arm regarded remotely playable at third. Based on what we have seen of Madrigal, that is fairly onerous for me to check. I will not name it unimaginable till I see it performed out in a sport state of affairs (will he see precise video games there within the Cactus League?), however I are inclined to doubt it is real looking.
But, hey, for now, hold all choices open, I assume.
I actually do not know the place this all lands. I feel a commerce might be nonetheless extra doubtless than not, but when it would not occur, then I’m going to be content material to root for Madrigal to get his well being again, to get his excessive line-drive-contact again, and add juuuuuust sufficient minimal energy to maintain defenses sincere. The finest model of Madrigal remains to be a man I feel may very well be actually enjoyable to have in a lineup – a man who modifications the look so essentially that you simply love the variability he provides. I do not like the concept of simply giving up on a 25-year-old outlier like that. But are sufficient begins realistically going to be out there proper now? Is sending him to Iowa to open the yr actually going to assist him?
The extra I flip over the state of affairs in my head, the extra I notice there is not an ideal end result. The Cubs had been proper to herald Dansby Swanson and transfer Nico Hoerner to second base. I do know that half, for positive. But it was all the time going to create this mess with Madrigal.