Cincinnati Reds Nick Senzel earns #2 ranking among MLB third base prospects
The Cincinnati Reds have had a few tough seasons in a row. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2013. The upside is that the Reds have had some high draft picks.
The Reds’ top prospect is third baseman Nick Senzel. They drafted him out of the University of Tennessee in 2016. Over the past two seasons, Senzel has flown up the Reds’ organization and is set to start 2018 in Triple-A.
MLB Pipeline ranks Senzel second to only Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., of the Toronto Blue Jays, among third basemen. Guerrero’s father was just voted into Cooperstown. Much like Senzel, there is some question as to where Guerrero will play defensively long-term.
Over two different levels in 2017, Senzel batted .321 with an OBP of .391. He also hit fourteen home runs. Offensively, the Reds view him as the right-handed batting version of outfielder Jesse Winker.
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Defensively, there was some question coming out of college whether he would play second or third at the MLB level. The consensus seemed to be that Senzel could play second early in his career, but would end up at third eventually. The Reds decided to start him at third base from the get go.
Using Nick Senzel as the top back-up infielder for the Cincinnati Reds in 2018 could be fruitful.
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Right now, all of the focus is on Dilson Herrera as the top back-up infielder in Cincinnati for the 2018 season. Herrera can play second or third at the big league level. However, Herrera has not been able to stay healthy since he became a Red.
Senzel, meanwhile, is spending spring training working out in the middle infield, He won’t knock Herrera off of the team. Senzel might, however, take away the back-up infield role away from the second base prospect.
The largest opportunity is backing up Scooter Gennett at second.
As a left-handed hitter, it makes sense that Gennett would miss 20 or so games in 2018 against tough lefties. That doesn’t count the games that Gennett doesn’t start, but comes in later, either.
The largest hurdle for Senzel is actually the presence of center fielder Billy Hamilton. For it to be worthwhile for the Reds to have Senzel in Cincinnati on day one, he would need to spend time backing up Winker in right field. Winker is only the everyday right fielder if the Reds move Hamilton. In the meantime Senzel will be working on being the best third base prospect.