When Nick Madrigal got promoted from the Winston-Salem Dash to the Birmingham Barons, most were excited. Another top prospect was moving along the pipeline. Some fans however, felt admittedly nervous, and for good reason.
In Minor League baseball, it is pretty much agreed upon that the most difficult level to jump to is from High-A to Double-A. The pitchers have much more in terms of pure “stuff.” I’m talking guys who can sit at 98 with cut, or throw 12-6 curveballs, or sliders with 2 plane break. Now, how well they can control and command those pitches is a totally different story, but the fact of the matter is that pitchers in Double-A more often than not have MLB caliber stuff. Add in the fact that the Birmingham Baron’s home ballpark is notoriously difficult to hit in, and it’s easy to see why some fans were nervous to see if Nick Madrigal could hold his own.
Well, its only been one game but the diminutive second baseman already looks like he belongs. In his debut, Madrigal went 3-4 with a run and 2 stolen bases for Birmingham. Based on his play style, it may be a sign of things to come. All the kid does is make contact and find the holes. And with wheels like his, he will beat out his fair share of ground balls for infield hits. What really has surprised me so far this season is his ability to steal bags. I mean, I knew he was fast, but it seems like he already has great technique to pair with it too.
Again, I know it’s just one game. But if Madrigal can just keep doing the little things right and play his style of baseball, his Double-A debut could be just a preview of things to come for the next few months of 2019.