The debate over whether or not Nick Senzel belongs on the Opening Day for the Cincinnati Reds is garnering a lot of headlines recently. Let’s explore why Senzel SHOULD be on the 25-roster to start the season.
The case for Nick Senzel to be a member of the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster continues to grow. On Thursday, new Reds manager David Bell, weighed in on the matter indicating that the reality of the rookie debut for may take place as early as March 28th. That sounds like the right approach to me, as I’m hoping to see Senzel in center field when baseball season kicks off in the Queen City.
It does not take a baseball genius, and I’m certainly not one, to see that Nick Senzel would be the most likely candidate, among the Reds players in Spring Training, to make his major league debut in Cincinnati this season. Whether it is at second base, centerfield, shortstop, third base, or as a super utility player, Senzel could break camp in Goodyear, Arizona bound for Cincinnati.
Conventional wisdom suggests that Senzel should start the season in Triple-A Louisville to add an additional season of “service time” to Senzel’s contract. Each regular season consists of 187 days and each day spent on the active roster or disabled list earns a player one day of service time.
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A player is deemed to have reached “one year” of major league service upon accruing 172 days in a given year. So, if the Reds sacrifice the first 15 or so game without Senzel on the roster, they’ll gain an additional 162 games of his service before he becomes a free agent.
Conventional wisdom still rules most days for me, and starting out the season in Louisville is the most economical and logical path in this era of baseball. However, hunches still matter as it pertains to the game of baseball. I have a hunch the Cincinnati Reds are perhaps considering by-passing conventional wisdom as to where Nick Senzel begins the 2019 season.
It has been publicized that Senzel spent this offseason in Arizona developing his outfield skills with former Cincinnati Reds’ great Eric Davis. Who else should be mentoring Nick Senzel than perhaps the greatest center fielder in Reds history? Does the mentoring include the patented tap of the glove on the left thigh before catching a fly ball? I digress.
So what does it hurt waiting until May to bring Nick Senzel to Cincinnati? Having that extra year of control certainly would bode well for a mid-market club like the Reds. The ability to keep Senzel under team control for one more season seems like the move to make, right?
I can easily be persuaded, again conventional wisdom, to follow this line of thinking. After all, the Cincinnati Reds are loaded with a crowded and talented outfield (Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, and Jesse Winker) and an All-Star infield (Joey Votto, Scooter Gennett, and Eugenio Suárez) that suggests that everyday at bats may simply be at a premium early on in the season.
However, is the clock ticking on this $6.2M investment? Senzel’s lingering bouts with vertigo cloud my mind, coupled with some bad luck season-ending injuries just when he seemed to have beaten the medical issues. While the 2019 Cincinnati Reds are an overhauled team with a completely new manager in David Bell, I cannot escape the abyss that April 2018 left the Reds with that 3-18 start.
The 2019 Cincinnati Reds must come out of the gate with a sense of urgency if they expect to make the ascent out of the NL Central cellar as many prognosticators have predicted. Of the first 30 games of 2019, 15 of those are against division opponents. Diving deeper into those numbers, 9 of the first 30 games are against three teams that made the 2018 playoffs.
The investment has been made to revamp the starting pitching, the process of rebuilding rapport with the fanbase is under way via “your friend” Yasiel Puig, not to mention that our beloved friends Tucker, Joey, Scooter, and Geno are all ever present. Why not capitalize on this positive energy that has been absent this Cincinnati Reds organization since the end of 2013 by having Nick Senzel on this Opening Day Roster contributing at the MLB level from this day forward?
Make no mistake, 2019 is going to be the year that the Cincinnati Reds No. 1 rated prospect makes his presence felt. As some critics state, Senzel is not known to be a long-ball hitter. Perhaps not, but instead Nick Senzel is a pure all-around hitter, a true baseball player who is said to, by all accounts, be a phenomenal athlete.
Senzel has hit for average at every level of the minor leagues with a slash line of .310/.390/.513 and 130 RBIs all with less than 1,000 at bats. The young man has simply performed at whatever level of baseball he has played all the way back to his time as a star at Farragut High School in Knoxville, to his three seasons at the University of Tennessee where, as a freshman, he hit .315 with an on-base percentage of .419.
Historically, Nick Senzel’s stats suggest that he is going to take Major League Baseball by storm and Reds Country will certainly enjoy this addition to the 2019 roster. The closer we get to Opening Day, this long time Reds fan is seemingly casting conventional wisdom aside and wants to see Nick Senzel on the 25-man roster when the Cincinnati Reds open up agains the Pittsburgh Pirates.