Nick Madrigal to Triple-A? Not quite yet, but the Cubs might consider it if the second baseman continues to struggle in 2022.
It has been a brutal start to Madrigal’s Cubs career, slashing .210/.269/.258, in 62 at-bats so far in 2022, and although his strikeout numbers are low compared to the rest of the league he’s already struck out 11 times after racking up a total of 17 in 54 games last year.
And you can’t even say that he’s hit into some bad luck because Madrigal isn’t hitting the ball hard and despite the high contact rate, most of it is going straight to the ground for easy outs.
Yet, we’re not talking about a prospect getting his first look at major league pitching and struggling. Madrigal had 303 at-bats during his two seasons with the White Sox and hit .317 in 83 games. So, he’s had success far longer than he’s struggled and that’s why the Cubs aren’t going to be panicking just yet and sending Madrigal to Triple-A.
However, there is precedent with the Cubs when it comes to sending highly-touted, young players back to the minors when they’ve struggled. Javier Báez made his debut in 2014, and posted a terrible .551 OPS in 52 games in the last few months of the season. Báez struggled in spring training to begin 2015 and played at Triple-A for the entire year until he was called up in September. In 2017, Kyle Schwarber was optioned to Triple-A for almost three weeks in late June into early July after slashing .161/.295/.378, in the first three months of that season.
In 2019, Ian Happ, who at the time seemed like a lock to make the Opening Day Roster, instead started the year in Triple-A and didn’t get called up until July.
Obviously the Cubs are hoping that Madrigal breaks out of his slump sooner rather than later, but if they do end up sending him back to Triple-A it would not be the end of the world and ultimately it could help him out at the end like it has with previous players in the organization.
Welcome to the Pinwheels and Ivy Podcast, Chicago’s #1 Cubs and White Sox podcast. Hosted by Matt Zawaski, Aldo Soto and Kevin Fiddler. Follow them on Twitter @SouthsideZo, @AldoSoto21 and @KFidds. During last week’s episode, the possibility of Madrigal’s demotion to Triple-A came up.
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