CORVALLIS — Nick Madrigal keeps being told to thank Jose Altuve.
Just about every mock draft that has Oregon State's 5-foot-8 junior second baseman listed as a top-five pick next week points out that his size is not common for such a high selection. However, that usually pivots his scouting report to comparisons with Altuve, Houston's 5-6 second baseman who was last year's American League Most Valuable Player.
"Maybe 10 or 15 years ago, people might shy away from my style of play, so I am extremely grateful for those type of players," Madrigal said. "Altuve, Dustin Pedroia, those are some of the best players in the game so I am thankful that they are doing that at this time."
Madrigal might be the favorite for national college baseball player of the year honors if he hadn't missed 26 games with a broken wrist. He likely won't be left off many all-American teams after batting .395 with 28 runs and 27 RBIs in 29 games.
Madrigal was injured sliding into third base against Ohio State on Feb. 23 and returned to face Oregon on April 19.
"I tried to stay positive through it all because the team is much bigger than me," he said. "I tried to be there for my teammates on the bench and support them. It looked like we didn't skip a beat at all when I was gone."
OSU (44-10-1) went 20-6 without Madrigal and 18-4-1 since his return to earn the No. 3 overall seed into the postseason. The Beavers will host a regional beginning at 7 p.m. Friday when fourth-seeded Northwestern State (37-22) visits Goss Stadium.
Madrigal went 5-for-11 with three runs and one RBI in his first three games back against the Ducks.
"When they said it was not season-ending, I was thankful for that," Madrigal said. "I knew I would be back at some point in the season. With my style of play, I didn't want to hold anything back. I wanted to dive and didn't want anything in the back of my mind, so we took it pretty cautious. Once I stepped back on the field, I was ready to go."
Madrigal, who was the Pac-12 player of the year as a sophomore, has a .367 batting average with 37 doubles, 11 triples and seven homers in 138 career games at OSU.
The Sporting News projects Madrigal to be the first hitter selected in Monday's draft at No. 4 overall to the White Sox. Jim Callis of MLB.com has him going fifth to Cincinnati.
The highest an OSU player has ever been drafted was Michael Conforto to the New York Mets at No. 10 in 2014. Madrigal hopes to be preparing for a Super Regional when his name is announced soon after the draft begins at 4 p.m. on the MLB Network.
"I came to Oregon State to play in Omaha and win a national championship," Madrigal said. "This whole program and the history behind it makes it easy for me to put my personal things aside and focus on this uniform and this team. We worked all offseason for this moment, so it has not been hard at all."
Madrigal was drafted in the 17th round out of Elk Grove (Calif.) High School in 2015 before arriving at Oregon State. If he is a top-10 pick next week, Madrigal will likely receive a bonus of more than $5 million when he signs following the college season.
Madrigal is trying to delay that payday until late next month by leading the Beavers to the College World Series for a second straight season. The Beavers could face second-seeded LSU — which eliminated OSU from last year's CWS — in the regional this weekend.
"We had a good idea we would be a national seed so seeing the teams in our bracket, we are ready to get to work," Madrigal said. "Get the first game going and get this next season ahead of us started."