Cincinnati Reds: 5 players most likely to have a breakout season

Mar 21, 2021; Mesa, Arizona, USA; Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jesse Winker against the Chicago Cubs during a Spring Training game at Sloan Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 21, 2021; Mesa, Arizona, USA; Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jesse Winker against the Chicago Cubs during a Spring Training game at Sloan Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
5 of 5
Next
Cincinnati Reds center fielder Nick Senzel (15) runs in for batting practice before the first inning of the MLB Cactus League Spring Training game.
Cincinnati Reds center fielder Nick Senzel (15) runs in for batting practice before the first inning of the MLB Cactus League Spring Training game. /

Nick Senzel, Reds centerfielder

You knew I was going here. This is the year for Nick Senzel. Either he makes it through the 2021 season unscathed or another injury puts a giant question mark on his Reds career going forward. The starting centerfielder for Cincinnati has the potential to be the Reds’ best player, but he must stay healthy.

It’s an unfortunate set of circumstances for the 25-year-old as he enters his third major league season with just 127 games under his belt. Service time manipulation and a shoulder injury robbed Senzel of several games during his rookie season, and an illness landed the right-handed hitting centerfielder on the IL for a month during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

Had the 2020 season been a complete 162-game schedule and Senzel missed a month’s worth of action with an illness, I don’t think Reds fans would be so cutthroat in their criticism of the former first-round pick. However, the fact is, Senzel has only played 57% of the 222 games over the past two seasons.

Again, service time manipulation kept Senzel out of about 30 of those games, but even if you add those games back, you’re still looking a player who’s only played in about 70% of the available games. Senzel needs to start the better part of 140 games (about 85%) this season in order for the fanbase to get off his back.

Next. Predicting the Reds Opening Day roster 3.0

There’s a big benefit to that as well. If Nick Senzel is on the field, he’s bound to have success. The talent is there; that’s not in question. If healthy, Senzel has the ability to hit 20 homers and nab 20 stolen bases. If he’s able to stay on the field, Senzel will break out in 2021, and could very well supplant Eugenio Suarez as the Reds best player.