The Cincinnati Reds reassigned their No. 1 prospect Nick Senzel to minor league camp today effectively ending his chances of making the 25-man roster.
The Cincinnati Reds have reassigned Nick Senzel, among others, to minor league camp. This isn’t a complete shock, but it’s a bit of a disappointment as it looked as though Senzel had a legitimate shot to be the team’s starting center fielder on Opening Day.
Senzel joins Phillip Ervin, Sal Romano, Cody Rees, Ian Krohl, Blake Trahan, Kyle Farmer, Lucas Sims, and Juan Graterol as the nine players reassigned to minor league camp before the start of the regular season. The Cincinnati Reds roster now stands at 30 players.
Nick Senzel, the Reds’ top prospect, played in 44 games in Triple-A last season before finding his way onto the disabled list for the remainder of the 2018 season. Though he’s an infielder by trade, Senzel was said to be given every opportunity to secure the starting job in center field this season which was vacated when the Reds decided to cut to ties with Billy Hamilton.
Senzel appeared to take to the transition fairly well. He’s a good enough athlete to make the switch and several pundits assumed this was an attempt to get Senzel’s bat in the lineup this season and then transition him back to second base next spring once Scooter Gennett, who’s in the last year of his deal, would likely move on in free agency.
It’s curious that the Reds reassigned Phillip Ervin as well. Ervin has been, arguably, the best offensive player on the team during Cactus League play. Ervin is slashing .341/438/.730 this spring and has 5 home runs and 9 RBIs.
The Reds now have just four outfielders remaining on the roster. Scott Schebler is now the obvious choice to be the every day center fielder and the corner outfield spots will be occupied by Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, and Jesse Winker. Derek Dietrich would also be available to play the corner outfield spots and Michael Lorenzen can play center field in a pinch.
I was really hoping that the Cincinnati Reds would buck the trend of keeping capable players in the minor leagues to gain an additional year of service time. If the Reds call up Senzel after about two weeks, he will not have enough games to accrue a full year of service, giving Cincinnati another year of team control.
I’ve said throughout the spring, from a business standpoint I understand it. However, you cannot convince me that Nick Senzel is not one of the 25 best players on the Cincinnati Reds. He’ll likely begin the season in Triple-A Louisville and will be given some more time to work in center field before making his major league debut.