The start to Nick Madrigal’s Chicago Cubs career has not gone the way anyone would’ve hoped. Through his first 84 plate appearances in a Cubs uniform, Madrigal was hitting just .203/.250/.241, making virtually no hard contact, and striking out a whopping (for him) 16.7% of the time. The sample was small and the season was young, but it looked as rough as the results said it should.
And then Madrigal hit the Injured List with a lower back injury. To what extent the back issue had been impacting Madrigal’s early season performance we don’t know, but you almost hope it was a factor. Couple that with the small sample, the fact that Madrigal was only just coming back from having missed more than half of a season with a major leg injury and rehab, and the fact that Madrigal actually only very little big league experience as it was, and maybe you get reasons to feel optimistic that the early part of the season can just be washed away.
Maybe Madrigal, 25, just needed to get fully healthy and needed to get somewhere lower-key to work on his timing.
In other words, hopefully this is the start of a solid return:
Cubs second baseman Nick Madrigal, who’s on the injured list with lower back tightness, will begin a rehab assignment on Saturday with Triple-A Iowa.
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) May 26, 2022
Remember, Madrigal played only 29 games total at Triple-A in his ascent to the big leagues with the White Sox. It’s not as if there isn’t potentially valuable experience/reps there for him with Iowa. The Cubs have an interest in Madrigal’s long-term success, so you almost have to start thinking about him as a prospect again: do this year whatever is necessary to put him in the best possible situation to be productive in 2023 and beyond.