Cincinnati Reds: Stop trying to steal bases when Jesse Winker is hitting

I have loved seeing Nick Senzel hit atop the Cincinnati Reds batting order the past few games. The former first-round is the perfect table-setter for Jesse Winker, Nick Castellanos, and the Reds other big bats.

However, it does the team no good if Senzel is thrown out while attempting to swipe a bag. We saw last night, Senzel attempted to steal second base on a 3-0 count to Winker. Senzel was tagged out, and Winker sent a towering a shot over the right field wall a few pitches later. Instead of a two-run homer, Winker was saddled with a solo shot.

Reds infielder Nick Senzel has been caught stealing five times.

I love the aggressiveness on the base paths, but the Reds are not really a threat to steal bases. The San Diego Padres lead Major League Baseball in that category with 48 attempts, 39 of which have been successful. That’s an 81.25% success-rate. Cincinnati has 14 attempts on the season and have been thrown out 50% of the time. Ouch!

Of those seven times caught stealing, five belong to Nick Senzel. Senzel has just two stolen bases on the season, but he’s tried to swipe a bag seven times. That means that about 72% of the time, the University of Tennessee alum is getting gunned down by the opposing catcher.

That is a recipe for disaster when Senzel is batting leadoff ahead of Winker. Is there a hotter hitter in the league than Winker right now? I didn’t think so. The Reds slugger is second only to Mike Trout in OPS, trails only Yermin Mercedes for the major league lead in hitting, and leads all of MLB in slugging.

The Reds are only hurting their case when they put a runner in motion ahead of Jesse Winker. Last night, after Nick Senzel’s base stealing snafu in the third inning cost the Reds a run, his quickness on the base paths earned the team an additional run in the eighth inning.

After reaching to lead off the inning with a single, Senzel motored around the bases, even blowing through the stop sign form third base coach J.R. House, to score on Winker’s double. Winker, was unfortunately thrown out at third on a huge base running blunder, robbing Nick Castellanos of the opportunity to snag another RBI.

The Reds need to stop running when Jesse Winker is in the batter’s box.

Unless it’s a full-count, sending a runner is just bad strategy when Jesse Winker is up to bat. I understand the whole premise of getting the runner into scoring position with a doubles-machine in Winker up to hit, but the Cincinnati Reds are not a good base stealing team.

Cincinnati’s seven caught stealing attempts are the sixth highest in Major League Baseball, but the five teams ahead of them all have more than 20 stolen bases on the season. Again, the Reds have just seven.

Nick Senzel has been a great addition atop the Cincinnati lineup. He’s slashing .340/.410/.434 with seven walks and six strikeouts over his last 15 games. But, he’s got just one stolen base during that span and has been caught stealing four times. It’s time for Reds to stop running, especially when Jesse Winker is up to bat.