Cincinnati Reds: Nick Senzel’s report card for the 2020 season

DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 2: Nick Senzel #15 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates as he scores on a single.(Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 2: Nick Senzel #15 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates as he scores on a single.(Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Reds outfielder Nick Senzel and the playing field continued to have an estranged relationship.

I’m not one to believe in curses, but Nick Senzel‘s inability to avoid the injured list is testing my belief system. There’s absolutely no evidence to suggest Senzel is not doing everything possible to be on the field. Every injury he’s suffered, no matter how freakish, has been legitimate. However, with Senzel entering his third season in 2021, the Cincinnati Reds still don’t know exactly what kind of player they have.

Unfortunately, 2020 presented more challenges for the University of Tennessee alum. Senzel was placed on the injured list on August 19th due to an illness and did not return to the active roster until nearly a month later. For the former 2nd overall pick of the 2016 MLB Draft, the trip to the IL could not have come at a more inopportune time.

At the time of his illness, Senzel was slashing .244/.327/.489 with two home runs in 14 games. In the second-to-last game he played before going to the IL, Senzel went 3-for-4 with a homer and 4 RBIs in a Reds 9-6 loss to the Pirates. As Senzel’s luck would have it, that game would be the highlight of his year.

NICK SENZEL. D. . CF. Cincinnati Reds

After returning to the active roster on September 14th, Senzel played in nine games making six starts and was nowhere close to being the player he was before landing on the IL. The Reds centerfielder collected just two hits in 25 at-bats to close the regular season without drawing a walk.

As a result, his numbers were dramatically impacted by his slump to finish the 2020 campaign. Playing in only 23 games, Senzel slashed just .186/.247/.357 and compiled a -0.1 fWAR. Needless to say, these are not the type of numbers Senzel or the Reds were expecting to see.

Nick Senzel remains an enigma for the Cincinnati Reds. Entering 2021, the Reds would be foolish to count on any type of production from him and should treat whatever numbers he can produce as an added bonus.

Additionally, Senzel is no longer the prized prospect he once was within the organization. His inability to remain on the field has greatly reduced his trade value and he can no longer be used as a centerpiece of any deal to bring a potential difference-maker to the Queen City.

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It’s been a bumpy road and the honeymoon phase has ended for Nick Senzel and the Cincinnati Reds. Of course, he’ll be given every opportunity to claim the center field job in spring training, but 2021 will likely determine if Senzel is able to strengthen his relationship with the Reds or if they’re headed towards an early divorce.