The Cincinnati Reds drafted top prospect Nick Senzel to play third base, but are reviewing that decision.
Third baseman Eugenio Suarez is forcing the Reds to reconsider whether top prospect Nick Senzel is the long term answer at the hot corner. When the Reds drafted Senzel, it didn’t appear that Suarez could play third base at the MLB level. Now he is above average.
Suarez has spent most of his professional career searching for a defensive position. As an amateur he played third. In the minors he played mostly shortstop with a little outfield and third base mixed in.
Senzel played second base when he started at the University of Tennessee. He quickly moved over to third base. His entire minor league career has been spent playing third.
The front office has mentioned playing Senzel at various positions in spring training. In addition to second and third, he will also spend time time at shortstop and the corner outfield positions.
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The outfield is already stocked at the majors and in the minors. Aside from Suarez and Senzel, third base isn’t super stocked in the organization. At second the Reds have current starter Scooter Gennett and prospect Dilson Herrera, who is out of options.
The Cincinnati Reds have an issue of not knowing who is here for the long haul or the short term.
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Senzel should play the position he is best at. He is the top prospect. The Reds can trade or move other players.
The issue is that Senzel is big league ready too soon. When the Reds drafted him, they were talking about him arriving in 2020, maybe 2019. Now in 2018 he looks to challenge for the Opening Day start.
If Senzel took longer to develop, the Reds could switch Suarez to first or right by the time Senzel made the show. Now, first baseman Joey Votto is still in his prime and Jesse Winker is getting ready to start his first year in right.
Meanwhile, the Reds haven’t tried Senzel anywhere else defensively. If you believe the scouting reports, he is an infielder. His range will limit him to second or third.
With Herrera and Gennett at second it makes sense to move Suarez or move outfielders to keep Suarez. The other option is to try Suarez at shortstop again. This didn’t work in Detroit and it didn’t work here.
Whatever the Reds decide to do, it should be for the long term success of the team. Senzel is the core of that success. The rest of the team should revolve around him, however, if he is ready to debut.