3. Nick Senzel, Reds centerfielder
I struggled with this last selection, as Joey Votto could’ve easily garnered this final spot on the list, but Nick Senzel is a player that must reach his potential in 2021. Heck, I’ll even settle for the youngster making it through the season without landing on the injured list.
Senzel’s first two major league seasons have seen the former first-rounder spend way too much time on the IL. So many of Senzel’s injuries appear to be out of his control, but the 25-year-old can’t play up to his potential if he’s confined to the training room. There’s also the matter of Cincinnati’s overcrowded outfield and no DH in 2021.
Major League Baseball did the Reds a huge favor in 2020. Adding the universal DH allowed David Bell to play all four of his talented outfielders at the same time. For now, it appears as though there will be no DH in the National League during the 2021 season, meaning Bell will have to finagle ways to find adequate playing time for Senzel, Nick Castellanos, Jesse Winker, and Shogo Akiyama.
Senzel has played the outfield exclusively for the past two seasons, and I expect to see vast improvement from the former No. 2 overall pick in that area. Senzel also has the ability to hit atop the lineup. With his speed, Senzel can be a weapon on the base paths and set the table for the likes of Castellanos, Mike Moustakas, and Eugenio Suárez.
If Nick Krall is not going to bring elite-level talent to Cincinnati, those players currently on the Reds team will have to elevate their game next season. Hopefully, these players, among others, will bounce back in 2021.