White Sox announce signing of top draft pick Nick Madrigal

HOUSTON — The White Sox announced the signing of their first pick in the 2018 draft, Oregon State middle infielder Nick Madrigal.

Madrigal 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.

“Normally, our goal is to assimilate players as quickly as possible into our system, but in this case we are very happy for Nick and the Beavers that any delay was because of winning a national championship,” general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement. “Nick is a talented young player in many aspects of the game, and we look forward to adding his skills, drive and leadership to our organization as he joins a developing core of talented young prospects.”

Madrigal, 21, played second base this season for Oregon State but the Sox want to give him a chance to play shortstop, which is where he will play for the White Sox’ Arizona League team Thursday and Saturday before he heads to low Class A Kannapolis.

Nick Madrigal dives for a ball during the College World Series baseball finals in Omaha, Neb., Wednesday, June 27, 2018. (AP Photo)

Considered by many scouts to be the best college hitter in the draft, Madrigal batted .367 with three home runs and 34 RBI on Oregon State’s national championship 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’m excited to continue my baseball career with an organization like the Chicago White Sox that has such a great future,” Madrigal said in a statement released by the Sox. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the love and support of my family, friends, coaches and teammates as their guidance helped make this day a reality.

“I want to thank Oregon State University and Beaver Nation for all the support they have given me over the years and making my college experience so special. I look forward to beginning my professional career in the White Sox organization.”

Here’s more from Madrigal on his conference call with media Thursday.

“Driving around the city and seeing the whole layout, I can definitely see that being a home for me. It’s a place I want to win for and hopefully bring a parade back to that city one day.”

On being 5-7, 165 pounds: “I really never thought of it like that. It’s easy for people to think I have a chip on my shoulder because of my size …  I’ve always played the game confident. When I get on the field I feel like I’m the best player out there.”

On position preference: “It really doesn’t matter to me and I really mean that. I played shortstop most of my life. Most of my college career I played second and I am comfortable there, too. At the end of the day, I’ll be ready for wherever they put me.”

On going 1-for-13 in the College World Series final: “I felt good during the series, I felt comfortable in the box, I hit balls right at guys, that’s baseball, sometimes you’re going to hit it and not get any hits. I felt I gave everything to that team in that year, and I don’t play for myself and to get hits. 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.”

On hitting for more power, which scouting director Nick Hostetler said he was capable of: “That’s going to be part of my game but I understand there are bigger guys who will hit more homers than me. But my job will be to get on base, steal bases and hit balls in the gap. I’m not going to change my game.”