Nick Madrigal Earned Himself Some Praise
I’d started putting some bullets together on a couple Nick Madrigal things from yesterday’s game, and then it just kinda turned into a Madrigal love post. So that’s what this is now.
Let’s start with the Tucker Barnhart pop fly that wound up scoring Nick Madrigal from first, as Trent Grisham lost the ball in the sun:
That, right there, is why running hard is always important. No, you don’t have to GO BALLS OUT on every batted ball that has less than a 1% chance of falling in, but you can still run at a reasonably aggressive clip just in case. Nick Madrigal did there, and even though the ball didn’t get away from Grisham, Madrigal was still able to score all the way from first. Good on him.
More praise for Nick Madrigal, because this really was an outstanding play that gets more impressive the more you look at it and think about it:
Madrigal had to charge that one perfectly, play the short hop perfectly, transfer it quickly, and make a good throw to get Tatis. And Ross is right: it felt like the game could have very easily turned right there, especially with Juan Soto and Manny Machado and Xander Bogaerts looming.
From Dansby Swanson on that play, via Jordan Bastian: “I told [Madrigal], that was a really, really good play. A guy that can run. Just how it was hit. It’s not one that you really practice, and he made it look really easy. He made it look really smooth. Made a good strong throw, and especially in that moment.”
Madrigal deserves a lot of credit for putting in the work to turn himself into a playable (or better?) third baseman at this point. Hand up, I did not think it was possible. But he’s looked perfectly solid over there, making all the routine plays, and periodically turning in good ones. All while playing only sporadically.
I don’t know what the future holds for Madrigal and the Cubs – the bat is still not quite what you want it to be (.273/.319/.364/89 wRC+), and he shouldn’t necessarily be starting every day over Patrick Wisdom (or Christopher Morel when the time comes) – but I’m glad he’s on this roster right now. He’s helping.