No one on the Cincinnati Reds’ roster had a more disappointing start to the season than Scott Schebler. The outfielder now has a 7-game hit streak.
While I argued hard to begin the 2019 season that Nick Senzel should’ve been the starting center fielder for the Cincinnati Reds, in no way did I advocate for Scott Schebler to be left off the 25-man roster. However, an extremely slow start to the season warranted a demotion to Triple-A, Schebler has responded with a 7-game hitting streak.
Could the 2019 season have started worse for Scott Schebler. Once the Cincinnati Reds decided to non-tender Billy Hamilton, Schebler was the No. 1 in-house candidate for the starting job in center field. But the Reds had other plans.
Though Schebler and Phillip Ervin were the only players on the Reds’ roster with a decent amount of playing experience in center field, the Reds thought their best bet would be to move their No. 1 prospect from the infield to the outfield.
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Nick Senzel took to the move like he’d play in center field hit entire life. The rookie’s athleticism has been on display since he was called up and Senzel appears more than up to the challenge of handling the rigors of center field for the remainder of the 2019 season.
However, before the season began, Scott Schebler was out to prove that he was up to the task of the starting duties in center field. After a Spring Training that saw the left-handed hitter crush .342/.490/.579 with 2 home runs, 5 RBIs, and 11 walks during Cactus League play, it was hard to argue with the Reds’ decision to make Schebler the starting center fielder on Opening Day.
But, a .123 batting average to start the season will derail any momentum you may have acquired very quickly. Scott Schebler couldn’t have had a worse start to 2019, especially considering the Reds’ top prospect and Phillip Ervin, who was the Reds’ best hitter during Spring Training, were waiting in the wings.
The Cincinnati Reds made the decision earlier this month that 8 games of Nick Senzel as a minor league center fielder was all they needed to see. Senzel was called up on May 3rd to begin his major league career and Schebler made his way south to Louisville just before the running of the 145th Kentucky Derby.
Schebler went 2-for-5 in his first game with the Louisville Bats, but quickly came back to earth. Schebler became mired in a 2-for-20 slump over the next 6 games and it looked as though Schebler may never regain his form.
However, Scott Schebler has been on a tear of late and is on a 7-game hitting streak. The 28-year-old has raised his average from .160 to .298 and has 10 hits in his last 22 at-bats. With a .455 batting average over the last 7 games, Scott Schebler is starting to show flashes of the player we saw during Spring Training.
More importantly for Schebler in those 7 games is his strikeout to walk ratio. During his hitting streak, Schebler has been punched out 5 times but also drawn 5 free passes. To begin 2019, Schebler had almost twice as many strikeouts (27) as walks (14).
While the Cincinnati Reds’ outfield is very crowded right now, the release of Matt Kemp makes bringing Schebler back to the big leagues more of a possibility as the season wears on. Unless he’s going to get regular at-bats, it might behoove the Reds to keep Schebler in Triple-A.
Nick Senzel, Yasiel Puig, and Jesse Winker have obviously cemented themselves as the Reds’ starting outfield and Phillip Ervin provides a nice pop with a lot of speed off the bench. Scott Schebler would be a nice addition to the outfield as a rotational left-handed bat off the bench capable of a spot-start from time to time.