Nick Madrigal continues to impress Chicago Cubs with defense at third base. Plus updates on Marcus Stroman and Matt Shaw. – Boston Herald


Sometimes Chicago Cubs third baseman Nick Madrigal will watch replays of his defensive plays to try to take in all the different angles.

Madrigal’s first season at third base has given the Cubs a reliable defender whose advanced metrics rate him as one of the best at the position in the majors.

“I’ve been really impressed with the multitude of different scenarios he’s been put in and being able to make a lot of plays,” manager David Ross said Tuesday. “I’m at the point, there’s no more question marks for me for him at third base. He’s proven that this year, put in a lot of work to get that way. But he’s very valuable at third and done a really nice job. He’s been great.

“He’s been really good and I think we’re getting the best version of him at the plate as far as like he’s healthy and I hadn’t seen that seen him swing the bat with this kind of authority and power and gap-to-gap and all-fields type of approach. He looks like the guy who we used to watch him compete on the South Side when he was healthy.”

Madrigal’s six Outs Above Average (OAA) are tied for sixth-most among the 39 qualified third basemen in the majors. He’s been especially effective making plays on balls he charges in on but has also shown he’s capable of making tough plays down the line or in the hole.

“The more and more balls I get over there, I’m just starting to figure out my style of play over there at third base,” Madrigal told the Tribune. “It definitely feels good to be able to do things for the team. But it’s still a work in progress. I’m still working every day on my early work and things like that, but it definitely feels good to be able to make those plays and just get more action over there.

“I think a lot of people at the beginning of the year were kind of counting me out, saying I couldn’t do it over there, but I’ve always believed that I’d figure it out somehow.”

Making the offseason switch from second base to third base also required a change in arm path and strength on his throws. He was curious about how his arm would feel after making the change and has been surprised by how much better his arm has felt the more he throws.

“I’ve been long tossing and just making sure to throw whether I’m playing or not playing,” Madrigal said. “I’ve learned that over the course of the last couple of years, just the more I throw and the harder I’ve thrown to first it’s actually made my arm feel better the more frequently I’ve done it.”

Marcus Stroman is feeling better, still no timeline

An examination Monday showed right-hander Marcus Stroman’s right rib cartilage fracture is continuing to heal.

He is doing light activity and will keep progressing as tolerated, however, there remains no timeline for his return. The status quo and a dwindling regular season schedule are jeopardizing whether Stroman can return from the injury before the season ends. He hasn’t pitched since July 31 and would likely need about four weeks to properly build back up.

“Marcus is as strong and hardworking and put together as probably anybody that you could think of,” Ross said. “And to come back from that and probably what he’s able to tolerate when he starts to do work, how much it affects him and is he effective? He wasn’t very effective before he went on (the injured list) so getting back and being good is also part of the equation.”

Stroman initially landed on the IL because of right hip inflammation. Three days before he was scheduled to return to the rotation, he sustained the rib injury under odd circumstances in Toronto.

Cubs’ 2023 first-round pick promoted to Double A

Matt Shaw’s pedigree and skill set made him a candidate to quickly climb through the Cubs farm system after the organization selected him with the No. 13 pick in the July draft.

Shaw’s refined bat-to-ball ability and power coming out of Maryland earned him an assignment at High-A South Bend to begin his professional career. The 21-year-old shortstop’s dominating offensive performance in 20 games — .393 average, .427 on-base percentage and 1.082 OPS with four doubles, three triples and four home runs — has already earned Shaw a promotion to Double-A Tennessee.

“It seemed like he was ready for a new challenge so we didn’t want to be too conservative there and we decided to send him on up,” vice president of player development Jared Banner said Tuesday. “The two things that jumped out to me are barrel control, he finds the barrel a lot, and then he hits the ball really hard. That’s a good combination.”


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