Madrigal left last night’s game after being lame as he ran to first base on a pitch. While there is obviously still hope that he can avoid surgery and return this season, his immediate placement on the 60-day IL demonstrates that even the best-case scenario involves an absence of several months. He won’t be eligible to return until the second week of August, and the Sox surely wouldn’t have placed Madrigal directly on the 60-day IL if there was any chance he could recover sooner than that.
A former top-five pick in the draft and a well-regarded (albeit a bit confrontational) prospect, Madrigal has started his big-league career on a solid footing. The little infielder made his MLB debut last July, and he’s proven to be a very productive player from that point on. Madrigal has won 324 plate appearances over the past two years and combined to hit 0.317 / .358 / .406 (116 wRC +).
Madrigal is an outlier in modern play, which has shifted towards a true three-result style of play. The 24-year-old hits for virtually no power and rarely walks, but he is one of the main contact hitters in the game. His strikeout rate of 7.9% this season is the second lowest of 142 skilled hitters. (only Kevin Newman hits less often), while his 91.8% contact rate leads that group. Overall, Madrigal’s atypical approach has paid off, as he achieved a batting average high enough to be a solid offensive player despite the lack of power.
He becomes the third White Sox regular to need a long stint in IL. Left fielder Eloy Jimenez has not played this season after stretching a pectoral during spring training. His initial diagnosis was for an absence of four to five months, so it is possible that he will return at some point in August or September. Central gardener Louis robert went on IL in early May due to hip flexor strain. Robert’s injury kept him from participating in any baseball activity for three to four months, so it’s still not clear if he’ll be able to return this season.
Despite these injuries, the South Siders find themselves high in the standings. At 37-24, Chicago leads AL Central by four games against the Indians. FanGraphs gave the Sox an 83.1% chance of securing the division title earlier in the day. Madrigal’s injuries lower those odds a bit, but their solid squad and quick lead give them a bit of a break.
That should reduce the urgency of acquiring a second baseman from outside the organization, at least if further testing reveals Madrigal could return at some point towards the end of the year. If the White Sox end up looking for an external upgrade, Adam Frazier (Pirates), Jonathan Schoop (Tigers) and Josh Harrison (Nationals) are among the second players capable of making their way into the market before the July 30 deadline. For now it seems Leury garcia and Danny mendick are slated to occupy the keystone of Chicago.
Goodwin signed a minor league deal with the Sox last month. The 30-year-old has a useful slash line of 0.250 / 0.317 / 0.455 in parts of five MLB seasons and is capable of playing all three outfield positions. Since joining the organization, Goodwin has earned a .244 .316 / .395 rating in 95 home plate appearances with Triple-A Charlotte.