Last season at the trade deadline, the Chicago Cubs acquired second baseman Nick Madrigal from the Chicago White Sox. The Cubs also acquired RP Codi Heuer in this deal that sent CP Craig Kimbrel to the Sox. Madrigal has had a reputation as a great contact hitter with little to no power at the plate. His low strikeout numbers have also been a notable statistic throughout his career. This contact-hitting ability had fans rather excited heading into this season.
The Cubs are 22 games into the season and have yet to see Nick Madrigal as advertised. Is it time for fans to panic? I don’t think so.
Although Madrigal is in his third season, he has only played 100 games in his career dating back to the shortened 2020 season. Fans may need to be patient to see the great contact hitter they expected.
Madrigal’s strikeout rate this season has been abnormally high to this point. In Madrigal’s first two seasons, he recorded 303 at-bats. In those at-bats, he only struck out an astonishing 24 times. In 62 at-bats with the Cubs this season, he is close to matching that mark with 11 strikeouts. When pairing this with a meager .210 batting average, Madrigal is far from looking like his normal self.
Madrigal has somewhat made up for his struggles at the plate with a much improved defensive ability. Madrigal has yet to record an error this season and his fielding percentage remains at 1.000 through 16 starts.
Coming off an injury and joining a new team can be a big adjustment for some players. It’s definitely too early for fans to panic when it comes to Nick Madrigal’s struggles. Players struggling with a new team isn’t necessarily uncommon. In his first month with the New York Mets last season, the generational talent of Francisco Lindor only recorded a .189 batting average. Lindor eventually returned to his old self. Now, Mets fans couldn’t be more pleased with their star shortstop.
I’m not going to pretend like Lindor and Madrigal are even close to being comparable players. My point is that patience is crucial in situations like these and some players can take a little while to adjust.
Nick Madrigal and the Cubs take on his former team, the Chicago White Sox, tonight at Wrigley Field.
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