Last night saw a rather interesting night on the Cincinnati Reds farm. Nick Senzel returned to the lineup for the first time since June of 2018 when he injured his finger on a relay throw for the Louisville Bats playing second base. In the offseason he made the transition to center field and played there during spring training. After being sent to minor league came in the final week, he injured his ankle when his cleat was caught while sliding into second base.
In his return to the lineup, Nick Senzel went 1-5 with a single. His ankle was tested at times, too. Several balls hit in the game required him to get up to full speed in the outfield. He also had an infield ground ball that he had to run out. After the game he spoke with the media.
“It’s different here. It’s a lot easier to see (the baseball) especially. You’ve got more of a scouting report, and how you’re going to play them. You have more of an idea of what they’re going to do, which is very helpful. Before the game, there’s so much video and analytical stuff these days – every hit, out – it’s all recorded. We go through it before the game, where to set up. Especially in games, their swings are also going to tell you how to adjust,” Senzel said after the game when talking about defense, particularly about the difference between Arizona and Louisville.
“It was good to get out there to play nine. We’ll see how the body reacts after getting out there and playing nine again. I didn’t play nine innings in spring training – well, I did a couple of games – but I didn’t when I was coming back. So we’ll see how I respond. Everything felt good, felt healthy,” he said.
Jose Siri draws three walks for Chattanooga
For Jose Siri, drawing walks has been something he had never really done much of in his career. That is until last season when he reached Double-A. That was the first time in which his walk rate wasn’t well-below average at any level. Let’s take a quick look at those rates, by level, throughout his career.
In the 2018 Major League Baseball season, the league average walk rate was 8.5%. That’s what it was in 2017, too. In 2019 it’s up to 9.1%, but it’s also still April – so, small sample size. No matter what we want to look at, though, Jose Siri’s 9.3% walk rate in Double-A is better than that. Last night in Kodak, Tennessee, the Lookouts outfielder walked three times in a game. That marked the first time in his career that he had done so.
Looking at the chart you can see that he’s not walked much throughout his career. In 2013, his first year as a professional he walked twice in two different games. But the Dominican Summer League is full of such raw playing ability that it’s statistical context is essentially non-predictive. Players are between 16-20, and while athletic and talented, generally very raw when it comes to skills.
Between the 2014-2016 seasons, Jose Siri walked twice in a game just one time – June 18th for the Billings Mustangs. That next spring training I noted that he looked like a different, more patient hitter in the week that I had watched him in Goodyear. What I had seen carried over somewhat into the season, too. His walk rate, while still lower than you would have liked to have seen, jumped up to 6%. He would walk twice in a game four times that season.
Last season he missed the start of the year due to a thumb injury suffered in spring training. When he came back and joined Daytona, the approach wasn’t great and he walked in just 3.2% of his trips to the plate – but he didn’t stay there long and quickly found himself in Double-A. In 66 games in the Southern League he would walk 8.5% of the time, and rack up four different 2-walk games. Siri returned to the league this season with Chattanooga, and through 17 games he’s already walked twice in two games (including the 3-walk game last night) and has a walk rate of 12.9%.
The overall approach is still a work-in-progress. He’s struck out 33% of the time in Double-A, and that rate is going to have to come down. But he’s been more selective and patient at the plate than ever before.
Pabel Manzanero’s three home run night
Last night, as you should have seen in the game review, saw Dayton Dragons catcher/first baseman Pabel Manzanero hit three home runs in Lake County. Unfortunately the Captains don’t have the MiLBtv package, so there’s no video of any of them available. Two of his home runs went to right-center, while his third and final one went to left-center. It was the fourth 3-homer game in Dragons history, with the others belonging to Wily Mo Pena, Juan Francisco, and Byron Wiley.
The 23-year-old has plenty of pop in his bat. Last season while playing for the Billings Mustangs he hit the second furthest home run in the organization – big leagues included – with a 467 foot blast in Orem (he had four that were 420+ feet). He’s played in just 14 games this season for Dayton and he’s already hit five doubles, and after last night he’s got four home runs. He’s hitting .322/.344/.610 on the season.
Ty Boyles – elite hitter who can also pitch
Pitchers don’t hit in the minor leagues until they reach Double-A. Ty Boyles was drafted out of high school back in 2013. As a high schooler he moved a little slower than a college player would have. That left the now 23-year-old without facing living pitching in a game until last night.
The reliever had never been in the batters box prior to last night in a game as a professional, and he came up to the plate twice. He singled on a hard ground ball – 105 MPH off of the bat according to our old friend and former Daytona Tortugas broadcaster Frank La Sala who now works for the Tennessee Smokies – in that first trip to the plate. Boyles was being asked to pitch a long one on Tuesday night and threw 3.1 innings out of the bullpen. That meant he got a second trip to the plate. That time he would draw a walk. His OPS sits at 2.000 and it might be time to start talking about getting him some more time at the plate.