Cincinnati Reds option Scott Schebler to Louisville in the nick of time

CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 21: Scott Schebler #43 of the Cincinnati Reds rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run in the sixth inning of a game against the Colorado Rockies at Great American Ball Park on May 21, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Rockies defeated the Reds 6-4. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 21: Scott Schebler #43 of the Cincinnati Reds rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run in the sixth inning of a game against the Colorado Rockies at Great American Ball Park on May 21, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Rockies defeated the Reds 6-4. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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The Cincinnati Reds sent Scott Schebler down to Triple-A Louisville while promoting left-hander Cody Reed to the 25-man roster.

This was a move that just had to be made. The Cincinnati Reds decided to option Scott Schebler to Triple-A Louisville. Cody Reed was called up to the big league club and will find a spot in an overused bullpen. Schebler was sent down to Louisville just one day after the Reds called up their top prospect Nick Senzel.

For some fans this move was long overdue. For me personally, I was hoping it didn’t have to come to this, but Scott Schebler left the Reds organization with no other option. Over the last several weeks, Schebler has barely been able to keep his head above water and was receiving an abundant amount of criticism from fans.

On the season, Scott Schebler was hitting .123 with a .253 on-base percentage and an OPS+ of 27. His WAR was sitting at -0.6 and he’d struck out 27 times while drawing 14 walks in 95 plate appearances. Last night, during the ninth inning with the bases loaded, Schebler fought off several pitches before ultimately grounding out to end the inning.

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Nick Senzel started in center field last night, a position that Schebler had held down for the majority of the season. Jesse Winker and Michael Lorenzen would occasionally fill in for Schebler, but the lion’s share of the starts went to him.

With Senzel having proved throughout Spring Training that he can handle the duties in center field, a brief stint in Louisville must’ve been all the Cincinnati Reds’ front office needed to see in order to make the move from Schebler to Senzel. Dick Williams, the Reds President of Baseball Operations, doesn’t expect Schebler to be in Louisville too long. Here are his comments via the Cincinnati Enquirer:

"“We expect Schebler to be back with us soon. He has been very opened-minded about working on some changes that our coaching staff have suggested, but it is work that is difficult to accomplish at the Major League level.”"

As Williams said, don’t expect Schebler to stay in Louisville for too long. Schebler is just two years removed from smacking 30 home runs. In 2017, Schebler played in 141 games, most of which in right field. His batting average of .233 was not good, but his on-base percentage was .302 and his OPS+ was 102.

Look, Schebler is likely to never make an appearance in an All-Star Game, but he’s a very serviceable player who can play all thee spots in the outfield. At his best, Schebler is a fringe starter and at worst, he’s a fourth outfielder.

The expectations for Scott Schebler this season seemed a bit unrealistic. He beat out Senzel for the starting center field job during Spring Training, though that decision was questionable, and was the only center fielder on the Opening Day roster.

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Giving Schebler time in Triple-A to get his swing right will be of great benefit to him. With Senzel now with the big league club, upon Schebler’s return, the expectations surrounding him should be a bit more realistic. He’ll be a fourth outfielder and a left-handed bat off the bench. That role should fit Schebs like a glove.