Nick Senzel made his much anticipated major league debut during last night’s 12-11 loss. Let’s put a grade on the Cincinnati Reds’ rookie’s first game?
Okay, okay, it was just one game. But, Cincinnati Reds fans haven’t been as excited for a player’s major league debut since Jay Bruce stepped onto the scene back in 2008. While it’s unfair to judge Nick Senzel on just one game, we’re here to do just that. What grade does the Reds’ rookie deserve for his performance during last night’s game?
Nick Senzel was drafted with the second overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft and his arrival in Cincinnati has been eagerly anticipated for about a year. An avalanche of quirky injuries kept Senzel from making his big league debut last season and concern over service time and learning a new position kept him off the Opening Day roster to start the 2019 season.
However, with the service time concerns and an injury to his right ankle behind him, Nick Senzel made his major league debut during last night’s 12-11 loss at the hands of the San Francisco Giants. Senzel started the game in center field and batted second in the lineup behind veteran first baseman Joey Votto.
On the night, Senzel was 1-for-5 with an infield single, 2 walks, and 2 strikeouts. Senzel showed incredible patience at the dish during his first two plate appearances, working the count full both times and drawing a walk during his second time up. It would’ve been really easy for him to let the nerves overwhelm him and have gone up to the plate hacking away.
Nick Senzel scored on a fielder’s choice during the bottom of the third inning after scampering to third base on a double by Jesse Winker following a walk in Senzel’s second plate appearance. Senzel drew a four-pitch walk in the bottom seventh, but was stranded at third base when Yasiel Puig grounded out to end the inning.
Senzel made a great grab in the top of the sixth inning when Steven Duggar, who was already 2-for-2 on the night, sent a line drive into straight-away center field. Senzel got on his horse and tracked that ball down a step or two away from the warning track.
At the time, the catch by Senzel likely saved a run, as the San Francisco Giants has runners on the corners, and judging by where that ball was headed, it would’ve been trouble had that ball flown over Senzel’s head.
The fly ball out did turn into a sacrifice fly for Duggar, who went 3-for-5 with 3 RBIs on the night. But, Senzel’s grab in the sixth helped prevent Duggar’s night from being more impressive offensively.
Senzel’s only hit came late in the ballgame with the score tied at 11 apiece. With a 1-1 count, a runner on first, and 1 out, Senzel hit a soft grounder to the left side of the infield and no one on the Giants defense had a chance to make a play.
Nick Senzel would advance to second after Yasiel Puig was hit by a pitch, but the rookie would advance no further after a valiant effort by Scott Schebler ended with a ground ball out to the first baseman.
The Cincinnati Reds’ rookie would get one more chance at the dish in the bottom of the 11th inning with his team trailing 12-11. A combination of fastballs and sliders from Giants’ reliever Will Smith sat down Senzel after just four pitches as he swung at missed at an 82-MPH slider down in the dirt.
While Senzel’s debut did not rival Jay Bruce’s 3-for-3, 2 RBI effort in his first major league appearance back in 2008, the former first round draft pick played a solid all-around game in his first action at the major league level.
Nick Senzel showed athleticism in the field, discipline at the plate, and an overall excitement during his first taste of action in the big leagues. We’ll give Senzel a solid B for his game as a major league ballplayer.
Let’s not forget, this guy was drafted as a third baseman. Don’t discount the the amount of time and dedication that he and the coaching staff have put into to making sure Senzel able to handle the rigors of playing center field. This was just his 9th career professional game playing the position.
Like we said from the jump, this is just one game and a lot of over-analysis will be on display during the early going of Senzel’s major league career. He didn’t set the world on fire last night, but he also did not disappoint. Let’s hope for more sensational grabs in the outfield and some more base hits as Nick Senzel’s career gets off the ground.