Nick Senzel seems to have found a home at the top of the Cincinnati Reds batting order. How has the rookie performed in his first 10 games in the majors?
Nick Senzel has played a grand total of 10 major league games. He has shown glimpses of power in his bat and patience at the plate. His adjustment to center field from second base, aside from a miscue yesterday, has been pretty flawless and he seems to have found a spot at the top of the Cincinnati Reds batting order. Let’s take an in-depth look at Senzel’s first 10 major league games.
Due to the Reds’ offensive struggles, it’s not saying much that Nick Senzel is sixth on the team in hitting. A .233 batting average is nothing to write home about, but with this Reds team he looks like Ted Williams. All joking aside, for a player who’s spent fewer than 60 games in Triple-A and is coming off injury, a .233 average is nothing to sneeze at.
Senzel, more than anything else, has impressed me with his plate discipline. The center fielder has routinely taken pitchers deep, with 12 of his 43 plate appearances going to at least a 2-2 count. He’s gone full 7 times in 10 games and has worked 3 of those into a walk, only striking out once.
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Nick Senzel has been an on-base guy, with a career .388 OBP in the minor leagues. His on-base percentage at the major league level is sitting at .313, better than both Yasiel Puig (.269) and Jesse Winker (.299), and rivaling Joey Votto (.325). During his 8 games at Triple-A Louisville this season, Senzel’s OBP was sitting at .315, so he’s about on track with how he began the season.
David Bell made the decision, just a few games into Nick Senzel’s career, that he’d be the Cincinnati Reds’ lead off hitter. Given that the Reds do not have a great player to go to in that spot, this move may be more out of necessity than desire. Regardless, I don’t see this as a negative. Senzel should be fine in the leadoff spot.
One of the biggest surprises in the early going for me has been Senzel’s power. He’s sitting on 3 home runs currently, but could easily have a few more. He was robbed of his first home run by Kevin Pillar two weeks ago at Great American Ball Park.
Still, Nick Senzel has shown power in his swing. In addition to the three homers, he recorded his first double yesterday in San Francisco and also racked up a triple earlier in the series. Senzel’s OPS is sitting at .824, trailing only Derek Dietrich, Eugenio Suárez, and Kyle Farmer for the team lead.
Senzel has yet to show off his wheels on the base paths. No, he’s not Billy Hamilton, but Senzel is more than capable of swiping 20 bags per season. So far, he’s 1-for-1 on the season. Hopefully he gets more chances to showcase he speed as the season progresses.
Defensively, Senzel has been just fine as well. He did have an error during Sunday’s series finale at Oracle Park, but it didn’t cost the Reds a run, so all is forgiven. Remember, this guy has played the infield for his entire collegiate and professional career. He’s not going to turn into Ken Griffey Jr. overnight, but he’s definitely shown he’s capable of playing center field at the big league level.
No, Nick Senzel hasn’t exploded onto the scene the way Jay Bruce did back in 2008, but that’s okay. While some fans were expecting Senzel to be Superman, I just wanted to see the Cincinnati Reds field the best team possible, and Senzel has to be on the field for that to happen.
With just 10 major league games under his belt, I’d say Nick Senzel is exactly where we thought he’d be. He’s a steady bat in the lineup who’s not a defensive liability in center field. He’s only going to improve with more at-bats and more opportunities to showcase his abilities.