The Cincinnati Reds brought in some extra pieces and are loaded with offensive talent. Who will lead the team in home runs during the 2019 season?
The Cincinnati Reds have no shortage of offensive power for the upcoming season. The Reds smacked 172 homers last season, falling just below the National League average of 179. The Los Angeles Dodgers led the NL last season with 235 roundtrippers. However, 44 of those homers from last year’s NL Championship team now reside in Cincinnati.
Yasiel Puig (23) and Matt Kemp (21) are now with the Cincinnati Reds and will look to invigorate an already potent offense. Eugenio Suárez led the Reds in homers last season with 34. Scooter Gennett added 23 long balls, and surprisingly, Scott Schebler was third on the team with 17 home runs last year.
But, that was then and this is now. Had Kemp and Puig had the same production last year on the Reds rather than Dodgers, Cincinnati would’ve trailed Los Angeles by just 19 homers. Let’s take a look at which fire players are most likely to lead the Cincinnati Reds in home runs next season and predict how many each player will hit.
5. Nick Senzel
In a prediction surely to go wrong, I think Nick Senzel will finish in the Top 5 among the Reds in home runs during the 2019 season. Senzel is not a pure power hitter, in fact, he hits more for average. However, with his advanced approach at the plate, lack of film for pitchers to dissect, combined with the Reds management giving him every chance to win the starting job in center field, I think Senzel is going to have a lot of chances to make contact.
I know, I’ve been really touting the potential of the Reds No. 1 prospect, but the 23-year-old really looks the part. Whether or not he starts the season with the Reds or at Triple-A Louisville is irrelevant. Senzel will be part of the Cincinnati roster by the end of April at the very latest provided he’s healthy.
The Cincinnati Reds lineup is just another reason that Senzel will find success at the dish in 2019. When Senzel gets regular reps in center field, which he’s very likely to receive, I can see manager David Bell slotting him in the No. 2 hole, behind Jesse Winker and ahead of Joey Votto. He’s going to see some pitches.
Winker’s .405 on-base percentage should not come as a surprise. His OBP in Louisville during his 2017 season in Triple-A was .395, and the year before it was .402. Winker will get on base and Joey Votto is one of the craftiest hitters in the game. If Senzel is positioned between those two in the lineup, he’s going to see a lot of pitches he can hit.
If Nick Senzel starts the season at Triple-A Louisville, so be it. It’s a business-savvy move by the Reds and the team is more than capable of holding down the fort for two weeks in center field. Both Scott Schebler and Phillip Ervin are able to play center field until Senzel is called up. Those two weeks still don’t affect my prediction.