What good is the pre-draft excitement without the ability to dream? In today’s Prospect Profile, we dream of a world where Oregon State second baseman Nick Madrigal falls right into the Mariners lap at pick 14.
I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t think this is going to happen. Madrigal could go at 1.01 (round 1, pick 1), and is unlikely to fall out of the Top 10. However, the opportunity to take Madrigal arose, the Mariners would be fools not to take him.
Let’s begin with the obvious: Nick Madrigal is an excellent baseball player. Unlike many of his peers in this draft, Madrigal is a nearly finished project. He is easy to project and, barring injury, as safe a bet to play in the Big Leagues as possible.
At 5’7″, 160 lbs, Madrigal does not look like your prototypical first round pick. What he lacks in physique, he more than makes up for on the ball diamond. Madrigal is an excellent hitter, who uses the whole field, works counts, takes walks, and has impeccable bat control.
In his first 2 seasons at OSU, Madrigal walked more than he struck out and boasted a .370/.428/.519 slash line. As potent as his bat, he does lack over the fence power, at least for now. As he gets stronger and makes minor adjustments to his swing, Madrigal could be a 10-15 home run guy.
Outside of what he can do at the plate, Madrigal has plus speed which he uses to be one of the better base-runners in this draft. While not a prolific base-stealer, Madrigal did manage to swipe 16 bases on 20 attempts. With Madrigal’s speed and instincts, he should be a 20 stolen base type of guy in the Majors.
In the field, Madrigal has all the tools to be a Gold Glove second baseman. A shortstop for his entire life, Madrigal made the switch to second to allow OSU to play the more defensive sounded Cadyn Grenier in the lineup.
Madrigal could play shortstop in a pinch, and likely play it at a high level in pro ball. However, his arm does profile better at 2B, where his quick release and soft hands make him a natural fit. If a team was so inclined, he has the athleticism to become a solid centerfielder in time.
Scouting Grades (20-80) scale: Hit: 60 Power: 45 Run: 60 Arm: 50 Field: 60 Overall: 60
What makes Madrigal a remote possibility to be on the board is 2 fold. First, he suffered a wrist injury early in the 2018 season and has yet to return. This lack of games in 2018 might make some teams hesitant to pull the trigger on him.
Second, he is small. No matter how many times we see guys like Dustin Pedroia or Jose Altuve thrive, many teams will knock Madrigal down their board just on size alone. Madrigal doesn’t have much room to grow and as such, he could be overlooked just long enough for the Mariners to take advantage.
While many will be quick to point to Altuve or Pedroia as the comp for Madrigal, I see a stat line more in line with Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu at the plate, with Altuve on the bases and in the field. Madrigal’s best case scenario is Pedroia.
We are less than 2 months away from the MLB Draft and as the big boards begin to finalize, we should start to hear more about who the Mariners may be targeting. Stick around for more analysis of these potential future Mariners!