The Cincinnati Reds are letting their top prospect try out different positions in spring training.
The Cincinnati Reds know that top prospect Nick Senzel is nearly ready for the big leagues. His bat is close and his glove isn’t far behind. Unfortunately, the infield is already filled for a while.
The outfield is already filled, too. Due to an inability to move center fielder Billy Hamilton, the Reds have four outfielders and only three spots. That means nowhere for Nick Senzel to play.
The Reds’ solution is to try Senzel out backing up everywhere in the infield, except first base. They also want to see him in left field and right field. Since he is athletic, they want to see where he can play.
This off-season Senzel was voted the minor league’s best defensive third baseman. That is across all teams on all minor league levels. Despite this award, the Reds are preparing Senzel to play as a super sub.
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Senzel was a second baseman early in his career in college. Then the University of Tennessee moved him to third base full-time for his junior season. Prior to the draft, it appeared that he was going to start as a second baseman and then move to third base later on in his development.
Despite this plan, Nick Senzel won’t make the team unless he is a starter.
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The Reds won’t let Senzel make his debut without a plan to play him everyday. Short of an injury, most of the positions have starters set in cement. The lone exception is shortstop.
Jose Peraza enters spring training as the starting shortstop. He won the second base job last season. That didn’t work out.
This season, the Reds don’t have another true shortstop on the forty man roster. Prospect Alex Blandino used to play short before moving to second. If Senzel takes to short, he will be the closest thing to a second shortstop.
Peraza, meanwhile, was a super sub in 2016, playing four positions. If Senzel can start at short, then Peraza becomes more valuable off of the bench. That, however, requires Senzel to learn short on the fly.
The Reds want to see what Senzel can do at different positions, but he is desperate to make his MLB debut. It’s obvious that the straightest path there is through Peraza at short. It would be nearly impossible to learn short that quickly, but he could be there everyday by mid-season.