Updated at 11:30am on March 26th

Nick Senzel will be in a walking boot for the next 1-2 weeks, according to the Cincinnati Reds. There is no timetable for his return to the field at this point according to Bobby Nightengale of The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Original story

While the Cincinnati Reds were playing in Atlanta against the Braves in what Tommy Thrall described as “interleague spring training” on the radio broadcast since the Reds play in the Cactus League, while the Braves play in the Grapefruit League – Nick Senzel remained in Arizona despite the Reds taking nearly the entire Triple-A team to Atlanta with them. And while in Arizona, Senzel injured his ankle playing in a minor league game.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and The Athletic reported late on Sunday night that the X-ray was negative, but that there was an MRI scheduled for Monday.

There’s a whole lot to unwrap here. First is that Nick Senzel can’t catch a break. He didn’t get injured at all from his freshman year in college through his second year of professional baseball. Since then it seems everything that could happen, has. We will have to wait and see what the MRI results are, but the fact that they are getting an MRI after an X-ray probably isn’t the best of signs. Better safe than sorry, of course – but that doesn’t sound like something you do for a guy who simply rolled an ankle a little bit.

The big question I have to ask is why wasn’t Nick Senzel in Atlanta? Yes, he could have also been injured in that game, too. But the odds weren’t likely. The Reds seemed to take a whole lot of guys with them to Atlanta, why not Senzel?

And that doesn’t even get to the question of why wasn’t he on the 25-man roster anyways? He was groomed last year to play second base. The Reds just lost their starting second baseman for 2-3 months. This is exactly why you kept Senzel instead of trading him for Corey Kluber, isn’t it? So if and when you had a spot open for him to play, you put him in there to play? That was right then.

Instead the Reds are going with Jose Iglesias. And there’s nothing at all wrong with Jose Iglesias. He’s a big leaguer. But I can’t imagine anyone that’s being honest about it thinks he’s a better option than Nick Senzel is to slide into the lineup (granted Senzel would go to second with Peraza at short – but you get the point).

The Cincinnati Reds have done a lot of good things since the 2018 season ended. The roster is infinitely better. And the coaching staff seems to be doing and saying really good things. But it seems that when it comes to Nick Senzel, there have been mixed signals and questionable decisions made since spring training began.

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74 Responses

  1. andybado

    But Doug, you’re ignoring the most important reason Senzel was sent down: the ever-predictive, crucial, infallible Spring Training STATS!!!!!! He showed this spring that he isn’t even as good as Derek Dietrich or Phillip Ervin let alone Scott Schebler or Jose Iglesias.

  2. Ghettotrout1

    I would guess the reason Senzel didn’t slide to second is they truly believe he could be an above average cf which maybe I’m wrong but a great hitting cf seems harder to come by then a 2nd basemen. But maybe I’m wrong that’s just the way I see it.

    • The Duke

      Given the concerns about Trammell’s arm (although I think it’s good enough for CF), Siri’s hit tool, Friedl’s power, and Ervin’s defense I don’t think this can be discounted off hand. Senzel has plenty of arm and if he’s showing the range for CF then maybe they view him as the CF of the next 6-9 years. Or at least the next 3-4 years if you think he slows down in his late 20’s.

      Hopefully this is nothing major and he’s back on the field before May.

      • Cguy

        Makes sense, but what about Fairchild, Siani, & Bautista. I have no issue with moving Senzel around & having him play 2nd, cf, 3rd, etc. this year, maybe even next year. Eventually, I want him in a set position as an everyday player.

      • Michael Smith

        @Ghetto and The Duke,

        This is the one area that makes sense to me. If they see something and think it is long term then I am bueno with some time down at AAA (pre ankle issue). If it is service time manipulation trying to get an extra year 6 years from now at the expense of a team that could be good now then I have an issue. I guess we will know pretty soon if we see him at second in Cincy.

      • AllTheHype

        Exactly. The Reds don’t have a viable ML caliber CFer in the system, short of Senzel and Siani.

      • The Duke

        Siani and Bautista are in Low A. Fairchild started off well in Low A but was fairly pedestrian once moved up to High A. Not writing Fairchild off, but he can hardly be counted on.

  3. Gaffer

    Thank goddness he was sent down, otherwise he would be accruing MLB service time on the DL.

  4. Wes

    The main reason Scooter Gennett wasnt traded either of past two seasons and the main reason he was cut in the first place is that 2nd base is deepest position in all of baseball right now. 2nd basemen grow on trees in mlb. Reds just traded away 2 yet still have a slew of guys who can fill in for scooter in time being. If management thinks Nick Senzel can handle centerfield defensively than his value increases substantially there over 2nd. You don’t change that bc scooter is gonna be out two months. You stay focused long term and he still needs grooming at cf.

    Also the service time would be a non issue if senzel wasn’t so injury prone. He would have got his at bats last season and not even be considered a prospect at this point. But he’s missed half his pro career. You can hardly put that on the reds.

  5. Bill

    Senzel played 29 games at 2B last season and 8 more in college. The underlying assumption during the off-season is that Senzel is ML ready today, definitely one of the best 25 that the Reds could have on their roster. Is it possible that a byproduct of the injuries he had last season slowed what was an already accelerated progression? After all, he did miss about 100 games between the minor league and AFL seasons. He’s blocked at 3B and has little experience at 2B (where he was blocked until late last week) or CF.

  6. Patrick

    I do not get this quote by you “And that doesn’t even get to the question of why wasn’t he on the 25-man roster anyways?”

    To me the easy answer is that he is not ready for the majors. If you have him on the roster I would assume it is as a starter. But right now he does not merit starting so I would rather him working on his game in AAA playing everyday.

    He needs to work on his hitting. He is still rusty at the plate. He needs to work on making contact (less ks) and he needs to show more pop. He has a lot of the same flaws as Bruce did in AAA but without the tremendous power. The 0 BB and 9ks this spring shows he still needs to work on his hitting. My eyes and the stats are saying the same thing when it comes to Senzel. I would wait until he is tearing up AAA to promote him.

    He also needs to work on his CF defense since it is new to him.

    • Kindell

      What? I am confused by a lot of what is being said here. What does someone have to do to get your approval in Triple A? I think you are putting way too much value in strike outs. The Brewers and Cubs lead the Central in K’s and both were at the top of the division.

      Senzel has a career .390 OBP in the Minors. I am not sure what else he has to prove. There is only so much you can improve on when facing Minor League pitching. You might also be the first person who mentioned Jay Bruce having flaws in AAA. Yea, he struck out a little less than once per game, but he basically mashed every other pitch he seen. The guy had an OPS of 1.023 in Louisville in 2008.

    • Alex Reds

      Totally agree Patrick. Senzel should be in triple A. He didn’t earn a promotion to the majors, and it wasn’t even close. He needs seasoning on defense at CF in the minors and Schebler significantly outplayed him this spring. Senzel is coming back from injury from last year and it was a smaller sample. He was below average this spring. If Senzel had outplayed and even significantly outplayed Schebler, Ervin, and Jose Iglesias this would be a different discussion. This has nothing to do with service time. Senzel is not ready yet as he’s not able to outperform average players at ML level to start the season, and we don’t need to put our top prospect to ride the bench in the major leagues. Let Senzel develop and get in a groove. Everyone comparing Senzel to Bryant is crazy. Yes, they were both top 10 prospects, buy Bryant led the Cactus league that spring and significantly earned the promotion statistically, and didn’t get it. Senzel hasn’t earned or proven anything and he’s not in a groove where you would think to push him up. Robert Stephenson dominated Triple A in historical Reds triple A season, and that doesn’t guarantee success.

    • Scott C

      I don’t know who you’ve been watching but Senzel has done everything in hitting in the minors. His composite slash line over 3 seasons in the minors is 314/390/513. He walked 106 times and stuck out 190 times. Not really a bad record. You talked anbout 0 was and 9 K this spring. Kris Bryant who someone else referred to as being so much better than Senzel walked only 98 times in the minors and struck out 206 times. Spring training stats mean absolutely nothing. Senzel has a great track record. But he still batted over 300 this spring.

    • andybado

      “Senzel needs to earn it!”
      *checks Senzel’s 2018 AAA stats*
      – 310/378/509 triple slash in AAA for a 149 wRC+ (after a 184 wRC+ in AA!)

      “Senzel strikes out too much.”
      – 20.2 K% in AAA — that’s better than average and only 2 players with a better wRC+ had a lower K%

      “Senzel needs to tear up AAA first.”
      – Senzel’s 149 wRC+ was 9th out of 198 International League players (95th percentile) with more than 150 PA. He as 10th in batting average, 14th in OBP, 12th in slugging, and 28th in isolated power. There were only 6 players in their age-23 seasons or younger with a wRC+ >145.

      “Senzel needs to work on his CF defense first.”
      – The Reds are starting Schebler in CF and talking like Winker will be his backup. Of the 124 OF with more than 250 PA in 2018, Schebler ranked 95th and Winker 110th in defensive wins above average. So clearly there’s a lot to lose.

      • The Duke

        44 games in AAA, not exactly an overwhelming sample size. He’s hurt yet again, so the argument in moot now anyway.

      • Ghettotrout1

        I agree with Duke he has had 44 games in AAA. I’m sorry but I don’t know why everyone is crowning this kid like he is the next coming. I mean I’m not saying he won’t have an excellent ML career but its not that big of a deal to get him some more at bats in AAA.

      • Scott C

        I think the Duke makes a fair point. But the argument Patrick was making was that “he needs to work on his hitting” and he strikes out too much and doesn’t walk enough. Neither of those arguments walk let alone fly. I am not upset that the Reds sent him down to Louisville. I am not upset that they are manipulating his service time. In fact I think it is the smart business decision, but he has hit at every level, he has had a high OBP at every level, there is no reason to believe he had a good spring, there is no reason to think that won’t continue.

      • andybado

        @The Duke, spring training is an even smaller sample size, and many are using it to justify the Schebler > Senzel argument.

        @Ghettotrout1, I’m not crowning Senzel with anything. My previous post was literally a list of inarguable stats. The Red think that he can cut it in CF otherwise they wouldn’t be sticking with this experiment. He is inarguably a top 10 prospect who tore up the upper minors last year. The Reds other options in CF are a late blooming corner outfielder who is best suited as a 4th OF (Schebler), a slow-footed former top prospect who is one of the worst defensive OF in all of baseball (Winker), and a relief pitcher (Lorenzen). What else does Senzel have to do to “earn” this spot?

        This may be a moot point now, but when Senzel is healthy, that question will remain.

      • andybado

        @Scott C, I respect the service time argument even though I disagree with it. But the “he’s not ready” argument is baseless (unless you think spring training stats are truth).

      • Patrick

        Senzel has only played 44 games in AAA and has not played since June of last year.
        looking at RC+ in minors is just a foolish task. His numbers look great because of a .367 babip that is not happening at the majors..
        You need to look at big picture and how he projects this year.
        He had 9.8 bb% 20.2 k% .199 iso .367 babip .310/.378/.350 slash line in AAA
        This projects to 8.8 bb% 22.4 k% .175 iso .330 babip .275/.335/.450 slashline which is OK but does not scream he is needs to be in the majors now.
        A healthy Schebler has shown he can put up better numbers than that. And is the more experienced and better defensive CFer

        The reason I say I want him tearing up AAA before being promoted is because I want that from every guy promoted. I do not want him promoted if he is struggling in AAA this year.

  7. Shamrock

    He clearly didn’t earn his way on to the Reds Roster this spring and I don’t blame the team whatsoever for making him “Ride the short bus home” after the whiny bs his representative pulled last week.
    So, why wasn’t he on the big boy bus? Two reasons:
    1. he has yet to earn it
    2. show him that prima dona bs won’t fly here in Cincinnati

    • Wes

      Zinger! Speak w your arm, bat, and glove. Words are wind.

      When Amir Garret was complaining about minor league conditions last year I lost some respect for him. Don’t want to play in crappy conditions nor ride a bus from town to town ? Then earn your way onto the big league team! Soto/acuna doing it at 19. Peraza 21. Garrett just shy of 25.

    • Doug Gray

      Dude – you’ve got to calm down with all of that “prima dona” crap you keep spewing everywhere. Seriously. Stop it.

      • Shamrock

        Doug bro,
        We all know that you’re in love with this kid and think he’s the next mickey mantle.
        Meanwhile, most of the rest of us aren’t exactly holding our breath.
        As Reds fans we all hope he will become a good player someday. But that day simply hasn’t arrived yet.
        A lot of us are tired of you overhyping this guy and trying to convince a very excited Reds fanbase that we’re all somehow getting jipped out of “your boy” not making the 25 man roster.
        Please stop?

        Let the games begin. Go Reds!!

      • Doug Gray

        Go be tired of it somewhere else then. Good luck finding somewhere else that doesn’t think he’s not MLB ready (here’s a hint – it doesn’t exist).

  8. MuddyCleats

    Is Senzel the next Mesoroca w/ all the injuries? Keeping down 2 gain service time & work @ CF makes all sense to me especially 4 team like reds. I don’t recall seeing Ervin last night either – I think they’re messing w/ his confidence? Watched game n Hotlanta & got 2 tell u Roark looked very much like guy who lost 17 games last year! Votto, Peraza, especially KEMP looked lost AB for just coming out of ST. Winker, Suarez, Detrick, Puig had good ABs – looked confident- had good approaches – swung bat w/ authority! Luv Colon’s approach AB – surprised 2 see R. Iglesias struggle – Hughes looked mid season form.

    • Cguy

      Wherever Senzel was playing yesterday when he injured his ankle, I doubt the field conditions were any worse than in Atlanta last night. Frankly, I give a pass to all the players on both teams. Why get injured playing in the rain 3 days before the season starts?

  9. Doc

    Doug does not let facts get in the way of a theory, especially when it is his theory. Senzel didn’t make the 25, or get called ro replace Gennett, because the guys who evaluate players for a living, and whose living depends on being right more than wrong, didn’t think it was the best move for the team.

    • Doug Gray

      Did they actually think that? Or did they think: We can get an extra year of service time here?

      The Reds think very highly of Nick Senzel at second base. Based on conversations I’ve had with people both working for the Reds or for other teams, I find it very, very unlikely that if they were being 100% honest, that they would say Nick Senzel isn’t the best option to be playing second base for the Cincinnati Reds right now.

      • AllTheHype

        Or maybe the Reds think Senzel can help the team more in the long run as a CFer, seeing that 2B grow on trees in MLB and CF is a more premium defensive position.

      • Bill

        Can’t you think highly of a player and also think he needs more reps? He really doesn’t have much time at 2B (37 games since HS) either and had not played there at all this spring.

      • TJ

        Either way for 11 days, he’s not on the roster. I will take the extra year.

        1 year is greater than 11 days.

    • andybado

      Yeah, Doug and every other talent/prospect evaluator who have nothing at stake (like Fangraphs and ALL of the projection systems) — and who consider Senzel a top 10 prospect and an above average major leaguer right now — must be wrong. The Reds (who have a monetary interest in keeping Senzel down) are certainly sending Senzel down for purely baseball reasons.

    • Doug Gray

      Please don’t confuse “best move for the team” with “he’s not the best player”. There’s one reason, and one reason only that Nick Senzel isn’t on the team at this point – service time.

  10. AllTheHype

    The obvious answer from Reds perspective is…..Reds are committed to Senzel in CF, because they don’t have a viable long term ML CFer in the system except Senzel and Siani, and SIani is too far out to project that with confidence.

    (The other obvious reason is service time).

  11. MA

    By and large it’s a dumpster fire kind of day in the ol’ comments section. Keep up the great logic and reasoning!

  12. Jim Delaney

    This again points out that the REDS have a huge issue with the leadership of their organization. The organization is being run by a minority owners relative who wasn’t qualified for the position of GM and now President of Baseball Operations. This needs to be rectified immediately and Castellini needs to send Dick Williams packing. Williams simply must go and if the minority owners won’t permit, then Castellini should force them to sell there shares. Having an unqualified family member running this organization is sending this team further into the ABYSS.

    • jbonireland

      Does the name Williams mean anything to you, he is the son of one of the owner’s. How can you blame him for Senzel getting hurt. We finally have a different breed running the ballclub rather than Jocketty. Give the guy a chance!

      • MuddyCleats

        Exactly – geez give kid time 2 recover & get healthy & some time playing CF. Two weeks isn’t going 2 keep Reds out of WS – their below par SP will

  13. theRickDeLux

    Just read an official Reds tweet saying mild right ankle sprain, in a walking boot for 7-14 days.

  14. Tom

    It is not the Reds fault that Senzel can’t stay healthy. To entertain the idea is being petty. We’ve got another Tulo situation it looks like. Except we’ve missed all the big league results. Better to stop staring at and obsessing about Senzel. He’s got a lot to prove with being reliable. Let him be. Move on with what we’ve got.

  15. Oldtimer

    Wisler reassigned to Reds MiLB camp per tweet by Reds. That means Peralta and Stephenson are final two bullpen pieces.

    • Doc

      And Wisler goes to waivers since out of options, correct? Does anyone think no one would claim him?

      • Oldtimer

        I believe he must clear waivers to go to Reds MiLB team.

      • MK

        I am sure they will but I hope they take their time with the ankle. I injured mine in college, playing hockey. All the x-rays were negative. They wrapped it, didn’t do boots in early 70’s, told me to stay off of it for a couple weeks. Of course I didn’t, even went to work on a crutch the next day. About five years later I had to have major surgery on the ankle where the made new ligaments out of a tendon.

      • MK

        If he has been assigned he might have already cleared waivers.

        Surprised to see Patrick McGuff was released. Thought he pitched well at times for the Dragons last year.

        My son is a big Mets fan he just told me Mesoraco is going to retire. They wanted him to go AAA and become a back-up and he said no. They wouldn’t release him so he is going to retire.

      • Cguy

        Atlanta broadcasters on FSO were talking about Wisler being reassigned not designated. If he’s cleared waivers, that’s a good thing. Both Matts (Bowman & Wisler) have a future as ML rp.

      • The Duke

        McGuff turns 25 this weekend and had a 4.62 ERA in Low A Dayton last year. 62 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 1.38 WHIP. Org filler has to move out if they don’t need a body. I wish him well as long as he wants to hold onto the dream.

  16. Oldtimer

    1962. Gene Freese broke his ankle in ST game. Reds moved (rushed) Tommy Harper to 3B from OF. Harper wasn’t ready; sent down to MiLB. Eddie Kasko moved from SS to 3B. Leo Cardenas started at SS. Reds won 98 games in 1962.

    Harper started in OF for Reds the next 5 years and went on to 15+ year MLB career.

    Senzel will be fine, whether INF or OF.

  17. Choo Choo Coleman

    Agree with Doug on the Senzel thing. Should have been recalled immediately and slid into the 2B job. Should have been in Atlanta. Should not have been injured in a minor league game. Why can’t the Reds do the right thing? Why?

    • Choo choo Coleman

      Let me follow up with just one statement. You should play players when they are ready. There is no guarantee of tomorrow. There is not a “sure thing” that they will get better, or not get injured. This is a sport. This is contact sport. And, things happen. Play players when they are ready.

    • MuddyCleats

      BC they don’t have Yankee $$$ & right thing is 2 keep Senzel under control as long as possible

  18. Stock

    Schebler and Senzel were both options to earn everyday AB in CF at the outset of ST. Schebler won that position battle and it wasn’t even close.

    Scooter get hurt so many think Senzel should open the year at 2B. But here is the rub. Iglesias is pretty good. His OPS vs. LH last year was .865. Throw in that he improves the Reds dramatically on defense and I think he is a better option. Versus RHSP I still start Iglesias some but many days I turn to Dietrich who OPS .762 vs. RH last year. All in all a pretty good combination.

    • andybado

      And Kyle Farmer outperformed Votto’s OPS by 400 points. Votto is washed; Farmer should start at 1B. Spring Training stats are truth!

      • Stock

        They were not fighting for a job. Big difference. Most players have positions locked up. Votto, Suarez …

        Some players are fighting for spots and the best man wins. In Colorado McMahon beats out Hampson with a great spring. Both had a shot. McMahon wins.

        Your example sucks because Farmer had zero chance

  19. Stock

    Last year at this time everyone here was talking about when Senzel would be called up. I felt Suarez and Gennett were better so felt there was a good chance Senzel would be a prospect still at YE.

    People say the only reason he was not called up in July/August was because of injury. I still did not see it. Why call him up to sit on the bench.

    Fast forward to ST 2019. Again, I felt Schebler was just as good if not a better option than Senzel. Turns out he won the position battle the Reds seemed to want to give to Senzel. Now he is hurt.

    Unless a trade or injury occurs when he is ready Suarez will be locked in at 3B and Gennett will be locked in at 2B. I think Schebler performs well and will not lose his starting job. Ditto Puig. With both Kemp and Winker in LF you have two people who both should be starting.

    Where does this leave Senzel?

    I think there is a chance that come October he will still be a prospect. I know I am alone on this. But you don’t bring up a prospect of Nick’s caliber to sit on the bench.

    • andybado

      Why bring up Senzel? Because he is a consensus top 10 prospect projected by all systems to be an above average major leaguer right now, and the Reds only have 3 such players on their roster: Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez, and Yasiel Puig.

      • Stock

        Seems you forgot someone

        Last year’s WAR

        Gennett 4.5
        Suarez 3.9
        Votto 3.5
        Puig 1.8

    • Kindell

      I just think you are alone on the fact that you believe Schebler is an all around above average Center Fielder at the MLB level. If the Reds thought he was, they wouldn’t have been trying to get Senzel ready as soon as possible.

  20. Jim Delaney

    The whole Senzel situation is one piece of the current REDS leadership, they made a lot of moves in the off season to try and be competitive, while they have a potentially injury prone asset who they could have dealt for a big piece that could have made the REDS more than just competitive in 2019. This organization is trying to put a sell able product on the field to sell tickets, they ARE NOT trying to win a championship…. That is the current problem with having a front office run by a minority owners family member. Dick Williams wouldn’t be working as a GM or a President of Baseball Operations for any of the other 31 teams in baseball. If he put his resume out there he might have chance to be involved on the financial side of things but that would be it.. If and when this team struggles in 2019, that is where the blame should be placed… Williams was named GM in November 2015 and then became VP and later President of Baseball operations. He has been given 3 seasons- all losing ones so far…