Cubs News: Nick Madrigal is out to prove his doubters wrong this year
It's pretty crazy how quickly the shine has worn off Cubs infielder Nick Madrigal. A former first-round pick, he came to the North Side along with Codi Heuer in that deal that sent Craig Kimbrel to the White Sox back in 2021.
The issue since coming to the Cubs has been health. Madrigal has appeared in just 59 games since the deal, mustering a lowly .588 OPS and 70 wRC+ in 228 plate appearances. Following the offseason addition of Dansby Swanson that shifted Nico Hoerner back to second base, Madrigal is the odd man out looking for a new home defensively.
Cubs could still get tremendous value out of Nick Madrigal
He's been working out not only up the middle, but also at third base, a position he's never played professionally - and it's drawn a fair amount of criticism and concern from fans who are troubled with the idea of the 5-8, 175-pound Madrigal manning the hot corner.
"I really don’t care where I’m at. I feel like I can play multiple positions. I haven’t bounced around too much in my life. I feel like I’m fully capable of doing it ... And we’re all here to win. ... I’m not looking at anything personally — where I want to play, where I’m going to be. I don’t know what the lineup part’s going to look like in a couple months. Whatever they throw at me, I feel like I can help this team in a lot of ways."- Nick Madrigal, via Yahoo!
It's clear Madrigal is taking the challenge to heart. He worked with Cubs bench coach Andy Green this offseason - and already again this spring - at the team's facilities in Arizona, learning the intricacies of the position and preparing himself to be a versatile weapon for Chicago.
Madrigal will see time at three infield positions and, likely, get some reps out of the DH spot, as well. Long regarded as a premier contact bat, the former Oregon State standout could add that element to the Cubs lineup. Time will tell if he can do that, but in the meantime, finding regular ABs for Madrigal could be one challenge facing the coaching staff this year.