Cubs News: Nick Madrigal makes highly-anticipated debut

Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports /

In what feels like a long time coming, second baseman Nick Madrigal finally made his Chicago Cubs debut this week. The former top prospect was acquired back in July in the Craig Kimbrel deal with the White Sox, but didn’t play with the North Siders last season due to a torn hamstring.

Madrigal made his debut batting leadoff and playing second base in a spring training game this week against the Cincinnati Reds. Madrigal went 0-for-2 before being pulled later in the game. Regardless, it feels so good to see Madrigal finally making his debut in Cubs pinstripes.

Madrigal looks to be a key building block while they continue to assemble the next great contending team. The former first-rounder seems likely to be slotted in as the Opening Day second baseman, but we should also expect to see him at DH from time-to-time given the team’s middle infield depth.

When Jed Hoyer and the front office made their flurry of moves back at the trade deadline in July, Madrigal was among the headliners of the big group of prospects the Cubs received from across the league. With a little bit of major league time under his belt, Madrigal definitely has the skills to get fans excited.

During his stint with the White Sox, South Side faithful gave him the nickname, “Nicky Two-Strikes”. Madrigal gained this moniker from his ability to put the bat on the ball when his back is against the wall. Throughout his time in the major leagues, Madrigal has hit nearly .300 with two strikes on him (leading the league in that category).

Madrigal is a pure contact hitter with very little power. He will slot in near the top of the Cubs lineup and hit for a high average while rarely striking out. One of his biggest issues is his defense at second base and he will look to improve on that this year and going forward.

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Even if the Cubs do not have one of the better teams in the league this season, it will be exciting to see players like Madrigal make their mark. After years of watching a feast-or-famine mix of bats, this year should offer something very, very different, with this contact-focused infielder leading the charge.