Nobody is saying that Nick Madrigal wants to shut the door on fun in the Oregon State clubhouse during lengthy weather delays at the College World Series, but leave it to the Beavers’ captain to keep his teammates on task.
At some point during the 4½-hour break from play earlier this week as Oregon State trailed Washington in the sixth inning of an elimination game, freshman outfielder Joe Casey jammed 30 pieces of gum into his mouth — to the delight of teammates.
Meanwhile, multiple Beavers engaged in a game of Mafia, involving fake gangsters, of course, a sheriff and a doctor.
And then there was Madrigal, the diminutive second baseman and recent first-round draft pick of the Chicago White Sox — at No. 4 overall, the highest-selected player in Oregon State history and the highest-drafted player at this CWS.
None of us want that NCAA participation trophy, Grenier said. We want the real thing.
Madrigal has tasked himself to make sure that his teammates stay focused.
He’s a special player, there’s no question, Oregon State coach Pat Casey said. He’s humbled. He’s gifted. He’s just a team guy. Sometimes you get high-profile guys and they think it’s about them. He doesn’t. He thinks it’s about us. That’s why he plays the way he plays. He does all the little things.
Madrigal missed 26 games this season with a fractured left wrist, but he is hitting .395 and he hasn’t committed an error, while stealing 13 bases in 13 attempts.
He prides himself on doing the little things.
This program’s built on things like that, Madrigal said.
Speaking of little things, Madrigal stands 5-foot-7 and weighs 165 pounds. He lists Jose Altuve as his favorite player. The comparison, while lofty, is valid. Interestingly, the White Sox told Madrigal after the draft that they plan to try him at shortstop and third base to begin with in the minor leagues.
Though the list of talented catchers who fell off after being drafted is long, scouts are confident that Bart will not be counted among them after signing this summer. He has a validated track record of power and has shown the makings of an advanced approach at the plate that should see him hit for a solid average as a pro.
While he’s clearly valued more for his bat than his defense, he should be able to stay at catcher as a professional, following in the footsteps of Matt Wieters and Jason Varitek, who also attended Georgia Tech.