Does size matter? White Sox draft pick Nick Madrigal: 'I think baseball's one of those games where height really doesn't matter at all'

Vinnie Duber
NBC Sports Chicago

Nick Madrigal is getting compared to Dustin Pedroia and Jose Altuve, and it has a lot to do with his height.

Or rather, his lack of height.

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Madrigal says he's 5-foot-8, and seeing him listed at 5-foot-7 wasn't uncommon in the run-up to the MLB Draft. But that size didn't matter when it came to the White Sox spending the No. 4 pick on the Oregon State second baseman Monday night.

And it hasn't mattered to Madrigal. Not one bit. The results speak for themselves: The guy was hitting over .400 when commissioner Rob Manfred read his name.

"I like to say I'm 5-8. Some people try to say I'm 5-7. It's right around there," Madrigal said on a Monday-night conference call. "I think baseball's one of those games where height really doesn't matter at all. When I take the field, honestly, I don't think that at all, it never crosses my mind, my height or my game, anything like that.

"I feel confident in how much work I put in in the offseason and practice. When I get in the game, I feel comfortable, I feel like I'm the biggest guy out there. It doesn't matter, my size. It's something I try to do when I take the field ever since I was younger."

Madrigal has earned rave reviews for multiple aspects of his game. He's got crazy good offensive numbers during his collegiate career, a .370/.431/.519 career slash line in his three seasons with the Beavers, including a stellar .406/.470/.586 line in 32 games this season, which was limited due to a wrist injury. He's struck out just five times in 133 at-bats this year. And his defense has been described as Gold Glove caliber. He's got some speed, too.

That all sounds great and it sounds like enough to outweigh any concerns about his height. If a player is good enough, it's been shown that size doesn't matter. Pedroia and Altuve have each won an American League MVP award.

All that skill - not to mention some positional versatility - make it sound like Madrigal could have the potential to be that kind of player.

"Those are some great players," Madrigal said when presented with some major league comps who share his stature. "I just enjoy the way they play the game. They play the game the right way. They play hard. I try to not ever take one pitch off, one inning off. It's something I was raised to do. I enjoy the way Mike Trout, (Ian) Kinsler, (Dustin) Pedroia, how hard they play the game."

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