Cincinnati Reds: Scott Schebler’s woes warrant promotion for Nick Senzel

CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 09: Scott Schebler #43 of the Cincinnati Reds is seen at bat during the game against the Miami Marlins at Great American Ball Park on April 9, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 09: Scott Schebler #43 of the Cincinnati Reds is seen at bat during the game against the Miami Marlins at Great American Ball Park on April 9, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /
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We’ve been patient, but it’s time for the Cincinnati Reds to to promote Nick Senzel to the big leagues, especially given the struggles of Scott Schebler.

Scott Schebler‘s struggles have been well documented since the 2019 season began, however, the last 7 games have been brutal for the Cincinnati Reds‘ center fielder. With Nick Senzel working his way back at Triple-A Louisville, it’s only a matter of time before he takes over for Schebler as the Reds every day center fielder.

I’ve been clamoring for the Reds to put Nick Senzel on the 25-man roster since Spring Training. Senzel is a young, talented, highly-rated prospect in the Reds’ organization and with the service time issue no longer of any concern, it’s time for Cincinnati to promote their top prospect to the big leagues.

Making this decision even easier for the Cincinnati Reds is the underwhelming play of Scott Schebler. Even though I didn’t agree with the decision at the time, I can respect the business decision that the Reds made when they reassigned Senzel to minor league camp and made Schebler the team’s every day center fielder.

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Scott Schebler outplayed Nick Senzel during Spring Training and earned the starting job. He slashed .342/.490/.579 in Cactus League play and racked up 11 walks while smashing 2 home runs. Unfortunately, the plate discipline and power numbers have not transitioned to the regular season.

On the year, Schebler is hitting .145 with a .254 on-base percentage. The most alarming statistic is Schebler’s lack of plate discipline as evident by his 20 strikeouts and only 9 walks. To be fair, Schebler has had a fair amount of balls sent screaming into the outfield, only to be caught by a defender who happened to be playing exactly where he hit the ball.

Over the last 7 games, Schebler’s offensive struggles have really been accentuated. Schebler is 1-for-15 with 4 walks and 6 strikeouts and his slugging percentage is .067. Ouch! In the most recent series against the Atlanta Braves, Scott Schebler went 0-for-7 with 5 strikeouts.

Now, Nick Senzel has only played 2 games at Triple-A Louisville since returning from an ankle injury that sidelined him since the last week of Spring Training. In those 2 games, Senzel is 2-for-8 with a double and a run scored.

The Cincinnati Reds have maintained all along that they want Senzel to have more time in center field and that’s more than a reasonable request. Up until this past spring, all Senzel has known was the infield. Senzel has played second and third base as well as shortstop during his time in the minor leagues.

The transition from infielder to outfielder is not an easy one. Whether the Reds choose to maintain Senzel as their center fielder beyond the 2019 season is anyone’s guess. A lot will depend on the contract situation with Scooter Gennett and the development of Jose Siri and Taylor Trammell.

Regardless of their long-term plans with Nick Senzel, the current struggles of Scott Schebler warrant a call-up for team’s top prospect. Phillip Ervin can play center field as well. So while Senzel is still gaining some experience in Louisville, the Reds’ 2013 first-rounder can hold down the fort in place of Schebler.

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The question of Senzel’s promotion isn’t so much if, but when. Barring injury, I wouldn’t expect to see Nick Senzel in a Cincinnati Reds uniform until the next homestand when the San Francisco Giants come to town. The next question is who the Reds remove from the 25-man roster in order to give Senzel a spot on the team.