Reds report card: Grading Nick Senzel's unstable 2023 season

Reds utility player Nick Senzel had an up-and-down 2023 season.
Cincinnati Reds infielder Nick Senzel
Cincinnati Reds infielder Nick Senzel / Adam Hunger/GettyImages

Nick Senzel was recovering from offseason surgery, so the former first-round pick was absent from the Cincinnati Reds 2023 Opening Day roster.

But Senzel was activated from the IL during the first month of the season and once again played over 100 games. That's a signifcant accomplishment for a player who's career had been marred by injuries.

Furthermore, his absence from the Reds lineup wasn't necessarily due to his health, but rather his role on David Bell's ball club during the 2023 season. Senzel went from Cincinnati's everyday centerfielder to a platoon player who played five different positions this season.

Reds report card: Grading Nick Senzel's unstable 2023 season

It seemed as though the Cincinnati Reds had finally figured out to best utilize Nick Senzel. After years of running a career infielder out into center field, Cincinnati began finding opportunities for Senzel om the infield dirt. Senzel would begin a game in the outfield, only to finish the day at third base.

Through the first two months of the 2023 season, Senzel was hitting .270/.341/.405 and was absolutely demolishing left-handed pitching. But once the young guns began to arrive, Senzel's playing time took a major hit.

Matt McLain and Elly De La Cruz needed at-bats, and Nick Senzel was relieved of his everyday duties and transformed into a platoon bat who'd only the see the field against left-handed pitchers. Senzel excelled in that role with a slash line, according to FanGraphs, of .347/.389/.619 and a wRC+ of 165 against southpaws this season.

But Senzel's 2023 campaign came to a screeching halt shortly after the MLB trade deadline. Rumors were swirling that the 28-year-old was looking for an expanded role, but instead, Senzel was optioned to Triple-A Louisville after struggling after the All-Star break.

. Nick Senzel. Senzel grade. C. .236/.297/.399 13 HR 42 RBI

Senzel eventually returned to the Reds lineup and hit .305/.328/.525 with four hone runs after returning from his brief stint back in the minors. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft set a career-high in round trippers with a baker's dozen in 2023.

Nick Senzel's future with the Cincinnati Reds is incredibly cloudy, but the University of Tennessee alum actually had success in his role with this year's Reds team. While not overly spectacular, one could argue that this was Senzel's best season with the Reds.