Nick Senzel is ready to make his big league debut for the Cincinnati Reds this season. All the hype surrounding Senzel is justified, as the 23-year-old is primed to make a run at the National League Rookie of the Year.
This year more than ever, the hype surrounding the Cincinnati Reds’ top prospect Nick Senzel is undeniable. With the almost sure fire call up to the majors on the horizon, Senzel is going to deliver on the hype and join a small group in franchise history as a Rookie of the Year winner.
If the Reds do go into spring without signing another outfielder, they do have some options to fill the spot. Scott Schebler looks to be the front-runner for the position, with Phillip Ervin right behind. New addition Yasiel Puig can also play center field if needed, but he will be just fine in right field. However, according to Dick Williams, Senzel will be given every chance to succeed in center field.
Nick Senzel is no stranger to the hype and pressure the next level requires. The second overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, Senzel has been displaying his talents throughout the minor league system at any level. Up until last season when he made it to Triple-A Louisville and had his season cut short with surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right index finger.
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Senzel was set to learn the outfield in last yer’s Arizona Fall League, but surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow cut that opportunity short. With it being confirmed he will be healthy this year, his rise through the ranks has rewarded him a non-roster invitation to Spring Training for the second time.
Combining all five teams Senzel has played for since being drafted, his career stats to date can make the most skeptic fan hopeful. In 231 games, he’s hit .314 with 27 home runs and 130 RBIs. What is truly impressive though, is his ability to get base hits and put contact on the ball, as displayed by a strong .914 OPS.
Senzel’s natural position is third base, however, Cincinnati Reds All-Star Eugenio Suárez has that covered. Senzel is proving his flexibility in playing multiple positions and possibly center field. The question is, can it translate to the big league level, and when?
Aside from his flexibility at multiple positions and impressive numbers in the minors, all eyes will be on what he can do once called up. The rookie class this upcoming season is impressive with stars like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays, Eloy Jimenez of the Chicago White Sox, or even Keston Hiura of the division rival Milwaukee Brewers.
What will give Senzel the edge though is that the Cincinnati Reds have the space for him, and he is setup to contribute right away. When comparing Senzel to Guerrero Jr., the Reds’ top prospect played in 45 less games and still stayed close in most offensive categories. In a hitter-friendly park like Great American, his power alone helps him out too.
With any rookie, you never know how their skills are going to relate, and how they will adapt to the next level. Any new player has a “show me” feeling, but Senzel has a more “prove you wrong” feeling about him. With a Reds’ offense already pretty powerful, his ability to get on base can translate well at the top or bottom of the order.
If he can round out that offense with the ability to cover ground in center, his case for ROY can be strong. The biggest challenge for him besides The Show is staying healthy. The Reds are finally starting to get some hype and talk from the league, expect Senzel to do the same when coming up to the show fully healthy.