If you haven’t been paying attention over the last few days in the Cincinnati Reds world, you may have missed the news that the organization is calling up their top prospect Nick Senzel.The former Tennessee Volunteer has been the organizations top prospect since he was selected #2 overall in the 2016 Major League Baseball draft.
For Nick Senzel, he’s been productive since he signed his professional contract. In his 239 Minor League games he’s hit .312/.388/.508. That’s come for Billings, Dayton, Daytona, Pensacola, and Louisville. On Friday night he’s expected to join the Reds and never look back. But what can Cincinnati Reds fans expect to see?
Nick Senzel Scouting Report
With a .312 career minor league average, you would be led to believe that the expectation for a high average is likely from Nick Senzel. And you would be right. To a point. In his best seasons, a .300 average isn’t out of the question. But Senzel is likely to hit .280 most seasons at the Major League level. He’s capable of using the entire field. And he’s got plus speed that should also help him leg out a few extra infield hits throughout the season.
Nick Senzel isn’t a bulking, power lifter-look-alike. But there’s some pop in his bat. While it’s not likely he’s going to be a 30+ home run guy in the Major Leagues, he’s got plenty of power to all fields. What is likely is to see him rack up 30+ doubles and 20+ home runs on an annual basis.
This is where things get the most interesting. On the infield, Nick Senzel stands out for his defense at both third base and at second base. Those are the two spots where he’s got the most experience. But that’s not where he’s likely to play much, if at all, during the 2019 season. Whether he moves back to the dirt in the future is up in the air.
For the 2019 season he’s going to find himself in center field. It’s still a new position to him – one that he didn’t start to work on until this past offseason. But he’s taken to the position well. Manager David Bell said he was the best defensive center fielder late in spring training that the team had. There may be some things he will need to pick up on here and there throughout the season, but he’s got speed, range, athleticism, and that should help him cover plenty of ground in center. His arm, very strong on the infield, plays just fine in the outfield, too.
One thing that Nick Senzel does that doesn’t quite fit into one section of the scouting report is his baserunning. He’s a very smart baserunner. While his speed does give him the chance to steal 15-20 bases in a season, he’s going to likely provide plenty of additional value on the bases that don’t come simply from the stolen bases.
His plate discipline is strong. In his minor league career he’s walked 109 times (10.6%) and struck out 203 times (19.7%). He understands the strikezone, and isn’t afraid to take pitches and hit while behind in the count.
The expectations are going to be high for Nick Senzel. That comes with being the #2 overall draft pick. To this point in his career he’s lived up to those expectations. Every scouting service out there rates him very highly. Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook rated him out as a perennial All-Star caliber player. Friday will be the start of his big league career. There will likely be some ups-and-downs, but there’s no reason to think that he’s not going to be a very productive player for Cincinnati for quite a while. The only question seems to be what glove he’ll be wearing when he takes the field.