Cincinnati Reds top prospect Nick Senzel needs more development time

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

After playing in spring training for the Cincinnati Reds, Nick Senzel needs to start the season in the minors.

Hope springs eternal for the Cincinnati Reds.  This spring that hope extended to top prospect Nick Senzel.  It appeared that he had every chance to beat out Jose Peraza for the starting shortstop role.

Senzel played every professional game prior to this spring at third base.  To help him adjust to shortstop the Reds asked Hall of Famer Barry Larkin to spring training. By all accounts Senzel played a decent shortstop this spring.

Senzel played ten games at shortstop this spring, starting three.  He also started three games at third base, but only played five games.  He committed one error at each position.

Offensively was another matter.  Senzel did fine offensively, but he did not look like himself.  After establishing himself as an on base machine his first few years as a pro, his OBP was not impressive this spring.

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Senzel had a lower OBP than batting average this spring.  He only reached base at a .276 clip. He was thrown out trying to stretch a hit, causing the anomaly.

Senzel doesn’t have any walks this spring to go against his six strikeouts.  He has three RBIs without a home run. Senzel collected eight hits and scored twice in fifteen spring games.

The Cincinnati Reds need Nick Senzel to work at second base and at the plate.

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If the Reds plan to keep Eugenio Suaez through his seven year contract extension, then Senzel needs a new position.  The interesting story here is that after Scooter Gennett, the Reds lack organizational depth at second base. Meanwhile, every level of the organization possesses an elite shortstop, so the Reds named Senzel the starting second baseman in Triple-A.

More importantly, Senzel needs to regain his consistency offensively.  He has a career .393 OBP. He needs to rediscover that part of his game.

In 187 minor league games Senzel has 151 strikeouts against 87 walks.  

That ratio has been fairly static his entire minor league career. Continuing that as he moves to Triple-A is integral to his development as professional.

He also needs to continue focusing on power.  He has 21 minor league home runs, which is a respectable number.  Senzel just has to keep the home run ratio increasing over time.

Next: Jesse Winker graduates to MLB starter

Meanwhile, the Reds have a player ready to lead the team to a new era.  However, they have to figure out where he will play. For his part Senzel has to develop the consistency that is required at the MLB level.