(Editor’s Note: Elk Grove High School’s reputable baseball program has generated more Major League Baseball players the past few years than any other prep school in the country, according to the MLB Network. One young man who made the jump from Wackman Field to PAC-12 Player of the Year at Oregon State to number one draft choice of the Chicago White Sox in 2018 is Nick Madrigal. He quickly moved through the ranks of the Sox and this season became their starting second baseman. He’s been sidelined, though, since June 15 with a severe injury to his right hamstring that required surgery. Madrigal is rehabbing in Arizona now preparing to grab the starting second base job next spring with the Cubs, the team he was traded to just days after his injury)
Citizen: We all wrenched in pain, Nick, when we saw your injury, trying to run out a ground ball. How is your rehab going?
Madrigal: I am just now progressing to run this week. I had been jogging in the water, but, yeah, I’m feeling pretty good right now.
Citizen: I found it odd that within days of that injury you found yourself traded to the other Chicago team. Take us through your emotions then.
Madrigal: Yes, it was a couple weeks later. The trade deadline was coming down to the wire. Some people said it was one of the wildest trade deadline times ever. There were so many trades going on between teams across the league. There was an hour left before the trade deadline and I got a phone call from one of the bosses with the White Sox, ‘You’re going to be traded and you’re going across town.’
Citizen: Do you see a real future? Will you be the starting second baseman in the spring?
Madrigal: Absolutely, that’s the game plan. I’ve talked to some coaches and they are excited to have me. I was just in Chicago this past week, got to meet everyone and talk baseball. It’s looking like it is going to be a good season next year.
Citizen: You won a College World Series at Oregon State, so was it a no brainer to leave college after your junior year, being drafted number one by the White Sox?
Madrigal: Yes, definitely. That was just the right timing. Everything aligned. I enjoyed my time at Oregon State. It was time to take the next step and play professional ball which has been a dream of mine.
Citizen: You were the talk earlier this season of the MLB Network because you just didn’t strike out (17 times in 54 games). Here we are now in a strike-out-heavy culture in baseball, except for you. So, why don’t you strike out…how do you make such good contact?
Madrigal: A lot of people have asked me that question. It’s always been a part of my game growing up. I have felt I understood who I am and as I’ve grown older I’ve focused on my strengths. I’ve always believed you put the ball in play so some good things can happen. Defense can make an error, bobble it, or I can just beat it out. If you strike out then there’s no way you can help the team.
Citizen: One of your coaches at Oregon State was Jake Rodriguez (also an EGHS alumni).
Madrigal: I still talk to him almost every day. When I was at Oregon State he took me under his wing and just really looked out for me.
Citizen: You spent almost no time in the minors. Were you impressed how quick the White Sox moved you up?
Madrigal: I was hoping it would happen that way. I felt like I could contribute at the Major League level. I was always hopeful they would give me that opportunity sooner rather than later.
Citizen: Give us a quick update on your (twin) brother (Ty).
Madrigal: He’s in the White Sox organization. He just made it up to the High-A level with the Winston-Salem Dash. This was his first year in professional baseball
(Editor’s Note: Ty is a pitcher and played collegiately at St. Mary’s College)
Citizen: It’s been a thing this summer on the television broadcasts to talk about all the guys from Elk Grove on a Major League roster. When you were playing did you have a chance to talk to Rowdy (Tellez), J.D. (Davis) or Dom (Nunez) or any of those guys?
Madrigal: I saw Rowdy this year, I’ve seen Dom a bunch in spring training, So, yes, I talk to all those guys. I played a couple games against Derek Hill (Tigers). It has been awesome. It seems like everyone is doing really well. It’s pretty special to have that many guys from one high school at the Major League level. It is a cool thing for all of us.