The Cincinnati Reds are a month-and-a-half into the 2023 season and have been presented with some good problems to have. Sitting just a couple of games under the .500 mark, the Reds have been playing better than most fans and pundits expected.
A handful of players have had unexpectedly good starts to their season. One such player is Nick Senzel. Since making his season debut on April 13 after starting the year on the injured list, the former first-round pick has been a pleasant surprise for Reds fans.
Senzel has seen the majority of his starts at third base this season and remained healthy since making the move to the infield dirt. With Senzel playing well, what does that mean for the current crop of prospects who also occupy infield spots in the Reds organization?
Nick Senzel's stellar play of late is presenting the Reds with a good problem to have.
Cincinnati Reds prospect Matt McLain made his debut this week in Colorado. McLain is the first of the big three infield prospects in Louisville to knock down the wall to the big leagues. The other two, Elly De La Cruz and Christian Encarnacion-Strand, have been playing extremely well in Triple-A as well.
McLain’s call to the big leagues came without much delay, due mainly to the poor play at the position the rookie now occupies. Both Jose Barrero and Kevin Newman have played below-average baseball, both defensively and in the batters' box, this season.
With De La Cruz getting significant playing time at third base while in Louisville, it seems unlikely that he would be called up and dethrone Nick Senzel from his newly found home at the hot corner. Senzel has done nothing to lose the job, and until he does, there might be a log jam at the position.
Of course, the Reds could recall the 21-year-old Dominican phenom and utilize him as the team's designated hitter. By doing that, however, De La Cruz's athletic ability in the field is wasted.
If, at the beginning of the year, you had heard that Elly De La Cruz is being kept in the minors due to the success of someone currently on the Cincinnati Reds roster, you would have assumed that Jose Barrero finally figured it out.
But instead, it's Nick Senzel who's presenting the Reds a good problem to have. It's not going to be detrimental to De La Cruz to continue to get at-bats in the minors. His time will come.