Earlier today the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox played a game in spring training. Nick Senzel started the game in center field for the Reds. It was his second start in center this spring. In the first game there was not a single ball in which the Reds top prospect had to do much to show what he had been working on all winter. There was a home run that landed 50 feet beyond the center field wall. And there were two absolutely lazy fly balls he barely had to come in for. That was it.
On Wednesday afternoon that wasn’t the case. Nick Senzel got a chance to chase fly balls in the gaps. It gave those of us watching on MLB.tv a chance to get our first looks at his ability to run routes. It gave us the first chance to see his speed in the outfield. And it gave us the first chance to see how he broke on the baseball.
Let me preface this by saying that I’m not a paid professional baseball scout. But I do watch hundreds of baseball games a year. What I saw on Wednesday afternoon at Camelback Ranch during spring training was a guy in Nick Senzel that I’m very confident in having the ability to play center field. He showed off good reads. The routes he took to balls off of the wall, over the wall, to the warning track that he caught – they were very good ones. And while I’ve been screaming at the top of my lungs for two years that he’s faster than he’s been given credit for on a national level, he even looked faster while running in center.
Mark this down as me going on record to say that Nick Senzel can handle center field defensively. And that I have no doubt about that fact, even after seeing just one game. Put his name on the lineup card 155 times with “center field” next to it. Call it a day. He’s ready.