Yesterday saw plenty of news on Nick Senzel. First Jon Heyman tweeted that the team was considering calling up their top prospect. Then a few hours later Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com reported that it was going to happen on Friday. C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic was told that for now he’s in the minors, but he would be in the big leagues “very soon” yesterday afternoon. With the Louisville Bats playing a morning game in Toledo, Senzel was in the leadoff spot and playing in center field. After the game was over it was officially time as the organization informed Senzel that he was getting the call to the big leagues.
After being the 2nd overall pick in the 2016 Major League Baseball draft, Nick Senzel has worked his way up through the Cincinnati Reds farm system. His first year was spent in Billings and Dayton. In 2017 he saw action in the first half with Daytona before moving up to Pensacola where he hit .340.
It was the 2018 season that slowed down his ascension to the Major Leagues. He missed a few weeks due to a bout of vertigo early in the year. Then after returning he went on an absolute tear for the Bats. Unfortunately in late June he injured his finger on a relay throw while playing second base and missed the remainder of the season. He was hitting .310/.378/.509 at the time of the injury.
During the offseason he made the transition to the outfield. After having surgery to have bone spurs removed in his elbow, he remained in Goodyear all offseason to work on learning the new spot on the field. When spring training started he was the favorite to get the job according to manager David Bell. But ultimately the decision was made to send Nick Senzel to minor league camp. Two days later he injured his ankle when a spike got caught while sliding into second base.
Here’s what Cincinnati General Manager Nick Krall said on Sunday, April 21st about Senzel as he was getting ready to head to Louisville.
It’s just keep getting your reps and keep improving. We saw an improvement from the beginning of spring training to the end of spring training and it wasn’t quite ready to be here.
He needs to keep improving to become the guy we need out there. We have a lot of faith that he can get to that point. At some point, he’ll get up here and he’s still going to be learning.
Center field is indeed a new position for Senzel. Prior to spring training he had never played a game there. But he seemed to pick up on it quickly. I spoke with multiple scouts in Goodyear who said he was the best defensive center fielder on the team right now, with a few noting that he was behind Michael Lorenzen – but of course the team wasn’t going to put Lorenzen out there as a starter. The front office, however, seemed to be saying that he needed to continue to improve. Eight games in Triple-A was apparently enough time to figure out whatever it was that was needed.
Over the span of his career since being drafted, Nick Senzel posted a .312/.388/.508 line in 239 games and 904 at-bats. Here’s his career set of stats from his time in the minor leagues.