The Cincinnati Reds made headlines when the team reportedly signed Mike Moustakas a four-year deal. How will this affect centerfielder Nick Senzel?
The Cincinnati Reds ended their 2019 season with a vacancy at second base and fans began to wonder if Nick Senzel would make the move back to his natural position. It would seem that the Reds front office had some other ideas, after reportedly signing Mike Moustakas to a four-year with the idea of him playing second base. Where does that leave Senzel heading into 2020?
Senzel made the move to play center field for the Cincinnati Reds during spring training last season after playing in the infield his entire professional career. Despite some service time issues and starting his 2019 campaign with an injury, Senzel made a decent transition to the outfield.
Senzel is, without a doubt, going to be a part of the Reds next season. The team essentially bet the farm on him when they refused to entertain trade offers last offseason. However, with Moustakas joining the team, there’s no way Senzel will see a return to second base. This all but guarantees he will remain in center field going forward, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all.
Senzel spent all of his 2019 spring training learning how to play in center field and spent nearly every game of the season there. He kept his head up when an injury and service time issues prevented him from making the Opening Day roster, and after replacing Scott Schebler in center field, was able to play pretty effectively during his rookie season.
With a .978 fielding percentage, Senzel had 177 putouts, 4 outfield assists, and one double play in his 2019 season. Those aren’t the greatest numbers, but for a rookie who had to learn a, entirely new position, I’d say he did a great job. I’m also sure that we’ll see those numbers, and his batting stats, improve going forward.
The biggest concern for Nick Senzel in 2020 is going to be staying healthy. A finger injury ended his Triple-A season in 2018 after just 44 games. Last year, Senzel was sidelined because of illness and an ankle injury before a shoulder injury ended his season a few weeks prematurely.
While Reds fans had been spoiled by the electric defense of Billy Hamilton in the past, the fact of the matter is, Nick Senzel’s defense was none too shabby in 2019. Senzel had just -1 defensive runs saved according to FanGraphs. With more time in center field on the docket for 2020, Senzel will be given every opportunity to improve his defense in the Cincinnati outfield.