BLIGH MADRIS, CORNER OUTFIELDER
|Born: February 28, 1996
Drafted: 9th Round, 268th Overall, 2017
How Acquired: Draft
College: Colorado Mesa Univ.
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Madris was an off-the-radar pick in the ninth round in 2017, coming from Colorado Mesa University, where he was a redshirt sophomore. Baseball America did not include him in their top 500 prospects, but rated him 12th overall in Colorado in an average year for the state. Madris was drafted as an outfielder, but he pitched eight times in relief and has shown a strong arm in the outfield. He was easily the best hitter on a team that produced a lot of offense, batting 422/513/758, with 14 doubles, four triples and 17 homers. He drew 45 walks while striking out 30 times in 218 ABs, hopefully an indication that he has good strike zone judgment. Madris also went 14-for-18 in stolen bases. He was out most of 2016 with a hand injury, hence the redshirt status in 2017. The pick was an interesting one as it was one of several in which the Pirates seemed to be emphasizing power potential more than they have in the past. Madris is a solid defensive outfielder with a good arm. He signed for $12,700 less than the slot amount.
Madris had a solid debut with Morgantown. The numbers weren’t overwhelming, but the New York-Penn League was an extreme pitchers league in 2017. The league’s average line was 240/316/340. His .429 slugging average was good for ninth in the league. His plate discipline wasn’t great, but his K rate at least wasn’t overly concerning. He handled LHPs reasonably well, posting an OPS of .726 against them, as opposed to .794 against RHPs. He played right field exclusively.
Madris spent the season in Bradenton and had a disappointing year. He hit respectably in April and May, with an OPS over .700 each month, but slumped in June, finishing with weak numbers, especially for a corner outfielder. He had a reverse platoon split, posting an OPS of .719 against LHPs and .646 against RHPs. Madris played mostly in right, but saw some time in left.
Madris spent the season at Altoona, playing almost exclusively in right. He hit better than the year before, possibly due just to getting out of the Florida State League. He didn’t take a real step forward, though, and at 23 wasn’t especially young for a prospect at the AA level. He had only a mild platoon split.
Madris opened the year back at Altoona. He didn’t hit much through ten games, but the Pirates moved him up to Indianapolis when Travis Swaggerty got hurt. He played regularly for the Indians the rest of the year. He didn’t hit well early, with a .551 OPS in June and .720 in July. He upped that, though, to .913 in August and .815 in September. His walk and K rates were good, especially these days. He had a big platoon split, posting an OPS of .811 against RHPs and .654 against LHPs. On defense, he split his time between the outfield corners.
Madris will be 26 when the 2022 season opens, but he had an encouraging season in 2021. The Pirates could do worse than considering him for a role in the majors in 2022, especially if he didn’t bat much against LHPs. It’d be better than a sub-replacement waiver claim, or using a no-bat utility infielder as a fourth outfielder, as they’ve often done in recent years. Madris had a big spring and lasted until the very end of camp, but ultimately was assigned to AAA. The Pirates instead followed their usual practice of going with no-upside veterans like Josh VanMeter and Jake Marisnick.
UPDATE: Madris hit very well for Indianapolis and, in mid-June, the Pirates called him up.
|2022: Minor league contract
|Signing Bonus: $130,000
MiLB Debut: 2017
MLB Debut: 6/20/2022
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2028
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 6/22/2022
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 13, 2017: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 9th round, 268th overall pick; signed on June 20.
June 20, 2022: Contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates.