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2018 MLB draft profile: 2B Nick Madrigal may be the best college player in the nation

A broken wrist early in the year hasn’t dampened his value one bit.

Nick Madrigal was riding the high of being a projected top 10 draft pick when the worst case scenario happened; he broke his wrist sliding into home during a February 2018 game against Ohio State. It was bad news for a guy projected to go in the top five slots of the amateur draft, where even the slightest dip in performance can completely shake up your projected place in the order — and especially so for an undersized player like Madrigal.

He has since healed and returned to play, though. Luckily for him, most forecasters still see the infielder as the top-rated position player in the draft. The recent FanGraphs mock draft had him going third to the Phillies. But if the Detroit Tigers decide they want to draft a guy who could be a future Ian Kinsler, then selecting Madrigal would help solidify their future infield in a serious way.


Position: 2B (has played some limited SS)
School: Oregon State University
Draft day age: 21
MLB Pipeline prospect rank: 3
Previously drafted: 17th round, 2015

MLB Pipleline Scouting Grades: 2B Nick Madrigal

Hit Power Run Arm Field Overall
Hit Power Run Arm Field Overall
65 40 60 50 55


Madrigal is one of those players that scouts have liked for ineffable reasons. He’s just the kind of player the old school guys know they want. He was initially drafted out of high school by the Cleveland Indians, but opted to go to Oregon State instead to play college ball. He’s a small guy, standing only 5’7, which will naturally bring about comparisons to another small-statured second baseman. But Madrigal likely won’t turn into the next Jose Altuve. He could, however, have the makings of the next Ian Kinsler: a solid everyday second baseman with a good arm and a hot swing. Like Kinsler, MLB Pipeline predicts that if Madrigal continues to play second, he “has the chance to be a Gold Glove caliber second baseman in the future.”

And how is he doing after that wrist injury? John Sickels of Minor League Ball doesn’t seem worried.

The wrist injury has limited Madrigal to 29 at-bats in 2018 but he’s been outstanding in that small sample, hitting .552/.581/.828 with a pair of home runs, three stolen bases, one walk, andzero strikeouts.

The numbers are obviously gaudy but Madrigal has the tools to back them up.

Madrigal’s greatest gift is his speed, which Sickels notes manifests itself as “ an ideal combination of instincts, athleticism, and aggression.” He goes on to add:

Speed doesn’t matter much if you can’t get on base but Madrigal excels in that department, with a superior batting eye and contact ability. There’s plenty of bat speed and his power production has improved steadily. He should hit a substantial number of doubles and triples and has a shot at hitting double-digit homers down the line. He can bunt, too, if you’re interested in small ball.

By all accounts, Madrigal is the type of player who would develop quickly in the minors and could likely see his path to the major leagues fast-tracked as a result.

If you’re not already sold on Madrigal being one of the best finds of this draft class, let D1 Baseball ($) convince you.

Offensively, Madrigal has a quiet, upright setup and a pronounced leg kick before unloading on the ball with surprising force. He’s a natural line-drive hitter who uses all fields effectively, and he has uncommon feel for centering balls on the barrel with regularity. His timing is exceptional, his pitch recognition is advanced, and he can handle fastballs on either side of the plate as well as quality breaking balls.


As mentioned, Madrigal is a small guy by baseball standards, at 5’7 and 165lbs. While guys like Altuve, and even Dustin Pedroia — who is only 5’9” [Ed.: his dreams] — have proven you don’t need to be a lumbering giant to play solid second base, some teams may potentially want a more classic baseball frame.

It’s also been noted Madrigal is somewhat lacking in the power department. MLB Pipeline ranks him at a mere 40 grade, and 2080 Baseball singled it out as his only major area of weakness, simply saying, “needs some additional strength.” D1 Baseball added, “He’ll never be a true home run threat.”

Madrigal’s recent injury will also be of some concern, and something team scouts will be paying close attention to leading up to next month. So far it hasn’t slowed him down since his return, but teams will want to be careful.

Draft position: top 10, and likely top 3

FanGraphs and MLB Pipeline both rank Madrigal as the No. 3 prospect to get taken in the upcoming draft. Likewise, Baseball America had previously slated Madrigal to go third, noting the Phillies love a strong bat, and adding, “There’s no better college bat than Nick Madrigal.” In a more recent BA draft he had dropped all the way to fourth, noting his injury. They added, “He has one of the best resumes in this year’s draft class and is a relatively safe pick as a polished college hitter who plays up the middle.”

Madrigal might slip slightly if the wrist injury has teams gunshy, but he won’t drop lower than the top 10, barring any further serious injuries.


h/t FanGraphs, 2080 Baseball, and Baseball America for the videos