Injuries, which had been a concern during Senzel's minor league career, continued to build up for the former first-round pick. On top of the production never being all that valuable, Senzel has struggled defensively in center field.
Prior to 2023, Senzel played a total of five games at third base. It's time to ditch the idea of Senzel being the team's centerfielder and fully commit to the University of Tennessee alum playing the hot corner.
The 2023 version of Nick Senzel is what Reds fans have been waiting for.
Nick Senzel has been put through the wringer since being part of the Cincinnati Reds organization. Drafted as an infielder, Senzel started his career in the minors playing on the dirt. It wasn't until 2019 that the Reds made the move and shifted Senzel to the outfield. The easiest route to the big leagues for Senzel, at that time, was to take over for Billy Hamilton in center field.
After making his major league debut in May of 2019, Senzel's career has been a very bumpy, up-and-down, rollercoaster-type of ride. Senzel always seemed to be right on the edge of breaking out. Then, an injury would occur. It always seemed to be a classic illustration of one step forward, two steps back.
After starting this year still recovering from off-season foot surgery, Senzel began his road back in Triple-A Louisville. While in the Derby City, Senzel stuck with the process, saying he was more than ready for the 2023 season.
Senzel earned himself National League Player of the Week honors last week. Per Stathead Baseball by Baseball Reference, Senzel has never had a six-game stretch in which he hit this well in his career. Over his past seven games, Senzel is hitting .591/.640/1.045 with three home runs and a wRC+ of 338. His season-slash line is .290/.362/.468 with a 120 wRC+ according to FanGraphs.
Reds fans have never seen numbers like this from Nick Senzel.
It's been only 18 games, but Senzel's career-high for wRC+ is 87. His health has played a huge factor in his performance. The output of production is what has kept Reds fans up at night, praying for times Nick Senzel performed like this. So can it continue?
Being back in a position that Senzel feels comfortable in could be paying huge dividends in his recent performance. With the struggles, or back-to-normal production Spencer Steer has been giving, it isn't a bad idea to give Senzel the starting job at third for the time being. With no real first baseman on the team currently, Steer is a perfect candidate to get some playing time across the diamond.
If it's not broken, don't fix it. Senzel has been playing extremely well since being placed in the hot corner. The confidence level is clearly there. Why change it? Senzel isn't hurting anything by manning third base day in and day out. In fact, the Reds may have been able to find the best way to get the most out of Senzel.