Second base is very thin this year in fantasy baseball. Of the top fifteen being drafted, eleven are eligible at a different position. It is very possible your opponents can take a quality 2B off the board and use them elsewhere. This thins the position out even more so.
It becomes very possible very quickly in your draft that there simply is not a startable second baseman available to you. There is no reason to panic or even to reach. Let's talk through why you should simply draft Nick Madrigal.
Madrigal was drafted fourth overall by the Chicago White Sox in the 2018 MLB Draft. He was the best hitter on a National Championship team which also featured first-round pick superstars Trevor Larnach and Adley Rutschman. While at Oregon State, Madrigal flashed as a defensive wizard at second base, while posting a .361 average across three seasons.
Why you Should Draft: Nick Madrigal
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Why You Should Draft Nick Madrigal: The Pedigree
Madrigal offers near-elite speed, once stealing 40 bases in 44 games in JUCO! While that is not going to repeat itself at the Major League level, Madrigal does have 43 stolen bases in his 163-game minor-league career. The Bat X projections have him as one of only thirty major leaguers that will steal 15 bases or more this year. Meaning in a fifteen-team league, he will have the second-highest stolen base total on someone's team.
Of those thirty players projected to steal 15 bases, only six others are also projected to bat over .280. Those players are Mookie Betts, Trea Turner, Bo Bichette, Christian Yelich, Ronald Acuna, and Whit Merrifield. All of these players are being drafted in the top 40, while Madrigal sits at an ADP of 176. Note, only Merrifield also qualifies at second base.
Of course, Madrigal will do damage to your home run total. He has only connected on five round-trippers as a professional. However if you have the foresight to see several picks in advance during your draft, you can afford to pair Madrigal with such players as Giancarlo Stanton, Joey Gallo, or Miguel Sano. That is, players who while supporting your home run total absolutely take your batting average down like the Titanic. And this is why you should draft Nick Madrigal.
The Bat Control
Across more than 1700 plate appearances in college and professional ball since 2016, Madrigal has struck out a comical 72 times. This is only fourteen times per season and represents a 4.2% strikeout rate. For reference, the great Tony Gwynn also struck out 4.2% of his college and professional plate appearances. Madrigal's bat control is truly the stuff of legends.
Across these 1700 plate appearances, Madrigal has hit an unheard-of .331 with 124 stolen bases. He coupled the mere 72 strikeouts with 122 walks and 504 base hits, the kid simply puts the ball in play and gets on base.
In Madrigal's first 100 at-bats in the Major Leagues, in the challenging 2020 season, he batted to an average of .340. Madrigal missed most of the latter part of the season with a separated shoulder. The silver lining is he retained his rookie status for 2021, in which he will be the starting second baseman for the Chicago White Sox.
The Sox figured to be one of, if not the, most explosive offenses in the American League. While Madrigal figures to bat ninth initially, there is certainly a path to the top of the order for him. Even from the nine-hole, he will be hitting in front of All-Stars every time the lineup turns over. With 600+ plate appearances, Madrigal figures to approach 100 runs scored.
Madrigal is being drafted as the 17th-second baseman overall. The upside is tremendous, he legitimately can win the AL batting title this year while sleepwalking to 20+ stolen bases. If you have the foresight to draft home run-heavy early on, Madrigal will help you to balance out the deficiencies that most sluggers bring. I am personally sitting at 100% ownership across my sixteen leagues thus far in 2021. As crazy as it seems, the cost of acquisition warrants the over-exposure and makes drafting Nick Madrigal a no-brainer this year.
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