HOUSTON — The White Sox on Thursday announced the signing of their first pick in the 2018 draft, Oregon State middle infielder Nick Madrigal. That had been known for days, but the Sox also announced the signings of right-hander Davis Martin (14th round) from Texas Tech, right-hander Jason Morgan (35th round) from North Carolina and third baseman Bryce Bush (33rd round) from De La Salle Collegiate High School in Warren, Michigan.
They now have 34 of their 40 draft picks in the fold.
Madrigal, 21, agreed to a signing bonus at slot value for the No. 4 pick ($6,411,400) several days ago, after Oregon State won the College World Series. He played second base this season for the Beavers, but the Sox want to give him a chance to play shortstop, which is where he has played most of his life and where he was expected to play for the Sox’ Arizona League team Thursday and Saturday before he heads to low-Class A Kannapolis.
Madrigal batted .367 with three home runs and 34 RBI on the national title team. He was 10-for-37 in the College World Series overall and 1-for-13 in the final series against Arkansas, including 0-for-5 in the title game.
“I felt good during the series, I felt comfortable in the box, I hit balls right at guys — that’s baseball,” he said. “I play to win. In 10 years, no one is going to remember how many hits I got in the last two days. They’re going to remember I’m a national champion.”
Madrigal was announced as a shortstop on draft night even though Cadyn Grenier, the No. 37 pick by the Orioles, manned the position for Oregon State this year.
“It really doesn’t matter to me, and I really mean that,” Madrigal said. “I played shortstop most of my life. Most of my college career I played second, and I am comfortable there, too. I’ll be ready for wherever they put me.”
With the trade deadline approaching at the end of July, the Sox have fewer chips to move for prospects than they had a year ago, but manager Rick Renteria knows veteran starter James Shields and relievers Joakim Soria and perhaps lefty Xavier Cedeno could be dealt to contending teams.
“I’m sure some of the guys we have in the rotation and some of the guys in the bullpen might be the ones people have interest in,’’ Renteria said.
Not to mention Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia.
“No, it wouldn’t be surprising because that’s the nature of the business,” Renteria said.
Reliever Nate Jones would be in those conversations, but he has been on the disabled list with a forearm strain since June 13. Jones is progressing and has thrown off flat ground while with the team on the trip, but he isn’t close to making a rehab start.
Pitcher of the month released
The Sox released right-hander Donn Roach so he could sign with a professional team in Japan. Roach, 28, was the International League Player of the Month and the Sox’ minor-league pitcher of the month for June. He was 9-2 with a 2.65 ERA in 16 games (15 starts) with Class AAA Charlotte.