Nick Senzel was named as the best defensive third baseman in Minor League Baseball by MLB Pipeline. Jim Callis released the list of the best defensive players at each position on Sunday night.

The Reds, like the other teams that were lucky enough to have a player make the list, only had one representative on the list. Here’s what the write up on Nick Senzel had to say:

He saw time at second base and shortstop at Tennessee and didn’t become an everyday third baseman until his junior season in 2016, when he was the No. 2 overall pick. Senzel is faster and more athletic than most players at the hot corner, where his hands and strong arm are also assets.

Having watched Nick Senzel play third base each of the last two seasons, if he’s not the best at third, he’s got to be among the group of guys that are. He’s capable of making all of the plays. Senzel’s got range to both sides, outstanding athleticism, and he can come in on anything. He’s good with the glove and he can make the bare-handed (not to be confused with the bear-handed) play.

Now, whether or not we get to see those skills at the Major League level is still an unknown. Heading into the 2018 season, Nick Senzel will be playing multiple positions. The Cincinnati Reds seem to be all-in on Eugenio Suarez at third base, at least for the 2018 season. He’s not a free agent until after the 2020 season. That leaves, at least for now, Senzel, looking for other spots to break into the lineup.

The main position for Nick Senzel to take a shot at is second base. He spent plenty of time there before sliding to third base as a junior at Tennessee. The position has plenty of other competition, both in the Minor Leagues and the Major Leagues. Scooter Gennett is coming off of a strong season in 2017. Dilson Herrera, a former top prospect is coming off of shoulder surgery and is a bit of a question mark. But, when he’s been healthy he’s hit just about everywhere he’s ever been, and he’s out of options, too. In the minors you have Alex Blandino and Shed Long in the upper levels. Below them there’s a slew of shortstops who could hit a log jam of their own. Some may simply outgrow the position and slide over to second.

Despite all of the other options, though, if Nick Senzel can do what the Reds seem to believe he’s capable of, it would appear he’s the best guy at the position in the long term. While it’s incredibly unlikely for contractual reasons that he’s on the team in March when the season begins, if he hits well for Louisville early on in the year, Senzel could find himself in the Major Leagues rather quickly in 2018.

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52 Responses

    • MuddyCleats

      Exactly! Leave the kid @ 3B and let him concentrate on hitting. Hitting is suppose to be his calling card; moving him Defensively may negatively affect his hitting/confidence?

  1. Shawn

    I was against trading Suarez but if Senzel is that good a 3rd baseman maybe we need to consider it. Suarez to Yankees for G Torres?

      • Bill

        I think Shawn is hoping for Gleyber Torres not Ronald Torreyes.

      • Piggly Wiggly

        No, I meant the light power hitting Gleyber. That would be < 10 HR in 4 spots in the lineup. Add Barnhart's power into the equation and that's a lineup weak on power in a bandbox stadium. Not ideal.

      • Stock

        Wouldn’t the addition of Gleyber Torres put Peraza on the bench?

      • Shawn

        Peraza wouldn’t be in that lineup. Senzel at 3rd, Torres at SS, Scooter, Blandino or Herrera at 2nd. I would actually consider Peraza in CF if we trade Hamilton.

    • Stock

      I think the Yankees are planning to play Torres at 2B this year and Miguel Andujar at 3B this year.

      If the Reds were to include Suarez, Gennett and Iglesias they may be able to get Torres and Andujar.

      • Colt Holt

        I really don’t get this. Two all stars and a solid contributor under control for three to four years. If that package is going to the Yankees, Aaron judge or Gary Sanchez better be coming back. Prospects aren’t big leaguers. Ask Robert Stephenson, Cody reed, and Amir Garrett. Even if one of them becomes an ace, ask homer bailey how long it can take to get there. Prospect doesn’t usually translate to six years of an Allstar. When you have all stars under control, don’t give them away for prospects

  2. Hoyce

    Yankees and Braves each have a 3B prospect in minors that’s pretty close. But Suarez would look good to both teams I’d imagine.
    I think the Reds should move Suarez if they can get equal value (Torres or prospects from ATL).

    • MK

      Watching MLB Network production Best third baseman right now, Suarez did not get a top 10 mention on anyone’s list including the computer. Was a little surprised. So, he might not have the value we think he does.

      • wes

        3rd base is deep! No Moose, Longo, Suarez on a list that is close to accurate. Couple guys a stretch like Beltre whos well past his prime. But in all it’s prob the deepest position in baseball right now. Which makes Suarez more valuable in my opinion. Very tough to be at the bottom of NL at 3rd and compete with likes of Bryant/Arenado/Rendon/Turner.

        Yet you are still spot on. He’s not as valuable as “we” think. Therefore, he will be around until someone needs him or Reds need to shed him. Seems like DW is totally cool with all the log jams. So I will respect that and try to remain patient : )

      • Colorado Red

        The list was a bit bogus.
        It was more based on previous years 2 – 4 ago, then present time.
        In order to be on the list Suarez needs another year or two.

      • Shawn

        Suerez was on one of the commentators list at #10. Don’t remember which one.

  3. Hunt4redsoct

    I want to see Suarez, Senzel, Votto and Winker in the same lineup. Great approaches, should be a lot of guys on base.

  4. Bill

    If Suarez is not interested in an extension, the Reds need to be willing to move him, if not this offseason, at the trade deadline. I don’t like the idea of challenging Senzel with learning to play multiple positions as he adapts to the majors.

    Keep in mind, Senzel has only had meaningful playing time at 2B and 3B since high school. Tennessee “showcased” him at SS some towards the end of their 2016 season as they finished an abysmal 9-21 in SEC play.

    • asinghoff

      Suarez has apparently expressed interest in a long term extension, so I don’t think he would be the holdup in that regard.

      • Bill

        I haven’t read that, but that would be great. Both sides have incentive to make that happen and avoid an adversarial arbitration hearing. We should know more in just a few weeks.

      • Norwood Nate

        According to MLBTR (Zach Buchanan) on Dec. 12th Suarez would want an extension of at least 6 years and over $45M.

        If I’m the Reds I’d probably be cool with working out something in that range.

      • Bill

        Thanks for the reference Nate. 6 years would take us through his age 32 season; ideal timing from the Red’s perspective. If he were signed long-term, I would be more comfortable including Senzel as a front-liner of a trade to acquire a difference maker type of player. Of course, I would want to see good productivity at 2B from Herrera first.

  5. HavaKlu

    Hard for me to put much stock in these ratings when the best defensive IB has played a total of 14 games !!

    • Alex

      I agree. Pretty sure peraza was in this same list for 2b two years ago. Peraza isn’t a bad defensive player but not a top guy

  6. wes

    Braves have like 10 starting pitchers that are 20-26 yrs old with tons of upside. I’m cool with only getting one of any seven for Suarez. Love to see that get done.

    Any one of:
    Newcomb
    Allard
    Wright
    Soroka
    Anderson
    Gohara
    Wentz

    • Colt Holt

      No way that I would give up a cost controlled player like Suarez for a pitching prospect. If he were to be traded, he would need to return two high end prospects at least (Top 50-100) or one Top 10-20 hitting prospect. Too much control at this point to take a single back end top 100. Should be able to get that next winter without batting an eye.

      • Stock

        I agree Colt. No guarantee any of these pitchers is any better than what we have.

      • Wes

        All 6 prospects could be ranked above mahle when rankings come out end of month. And four of them Braves would say no too. Look it up

      • Stock

        They could be. Some will for sure but how much of an upgrade will it be? Enough to give up Suarez? I think the Reds let Stephenson, Garrett, Romano, Castillo, Disco, Finnegan, Mahle, Reed, Gutierrez, Lopez and even Homer prove themselves this year be it in Cincinnati or Louisville.

      • MuddyCleats

        Well, if Suarez could bring a SP w/ cost control say like Castillo, I would be all for it w/ Senzel waiting in the wings ?

  7. Hoyce

    Giants just acquired mccutcheon. Does that mean no more trade interest on BHam? (By SF)

    • Doug Gray

      Cutch is not a center fielder. So, no. They still need a center fielder. The problem is, though, their farm system is terrible. And the Pirates probably got prospects back. That makes the Giants system even less attractive.

      • Hoyce

        Plus the money aspect. I mean, how close to their max payroll are they?

      • Shawn

        Looks like Reynalds is the only good prospect the giants are giving up

      • Doug Gray

        He’s interesting, but he’s got a whole lot of questions, too. Not sure he can handle center. Didn’t exactly beat up the Cal League at 22. Strikeout to walk ratio isn’t bad, but it’s not good. If he’s got to be a corner guy, that bat needs to take big steps forward. Guy you wouldn’t mind having in the system, but I’d be hard pressed to have him in the Reds Top 13. Can’t find a good reason to rank him ahead of Fairchild at this point.

  8. greg

    I still think the best path forward is moving Suarez back to SS and keeping Senzel at 3B.
    Suarez hit tool will play up at SS and compensate for avg defense.
    I think it is the most productive scenario for position player WAR.
    I believe one of Long, Blandino, and Herrera will outproduce Peraza as they all have superior approaches at the plate. If Peraza were Andrelton Simmons at SS I might feel differently, but this is a guy that scouts are split on being able to handle SS.
    If this is to be the last year before the competitive window – now is the time to try Suarez at SS.
    The days of the no pop – no patience bat need to pass.

  9. Piggly Wiggly

    If it were up to me, I’m keeping both Senzel and Suarez. Even if it means that one is moved to a corner OF spot.
    Others I would trade.

    • Shawn

      He’s not near as valuable as a corner outfielder. He needs to stay at 2nd or 3rd

  10. MK

    McCutchen now a Giant. The final nail in coffin of any Hamilton deal.

    • Colorado Red

      As Doug said earlier he is not a CF.
      But, do not think the Giants will give up a top prospect.
      So, no deal

  11. SteveLV

    Doug, doesn’t seem this is being considered, but am curious anyway – couldn’t Senzel be given a shot in CF, providing a bridge to Siri/Trammell and the potential expiration of Suarez’ contract (although think Reds should extend him)? Seems like he has the tools to be at least a mediocre defensive center fielder and his bat would be a huge upgrade. Hamilton as 4th OF, if they don’t trade him, would bring a lot of flexibility. If he’s healthy, I’d like to see Herrera get a shot at second. Is there a “this just won’t work because…” answer?

    • Doug Gray

      It’s possible, I guess, but seems very unlikely. I think if it were being considered, we’d have heard about it as being an option by now.

    • Simon Cowell

      I like the idea. the offensive addition would certainly mask any fielding limitations.

  12. IndyRedsFan

    I actually think the McCutchen trade to the Giants increases the possibility of Hamilton going to the Giants.
    …they aren’t likely to play McCutchen in center
    ……With Cutch having only 1 year left, they’re going for it this year. (making it more likely they are going to be willing to give up prospects (Ramos?)
    ….the Reds likely probably weren’t interested in the 2 guys that P’burg got
    ….with cutch’s salary, they have to be getting close to soft salary cap, making it less likely that they go for someone like Cain.

    • Wes

      I agree with most of that line of thinking except the money aspect. Giants will never run out of money but that also doesn’t mean you sign Cain to a bad contract.

      Reds should go after Ramos hard. Throw in what it takes to get him if you have too. If you can’t get Ramos though it’s not worth. Set reds back to far to loose billy for mediocre prospects.

  13. Matt Bruggeman

    Doug,
    If it didn’t require too much extra time and effort, I’d love to read what equivalent trade would be with reds prospects.
    When you mentioned Reynolds wouldn’t likely be in our top 13, that really helped me understand the trade.

  14. Cguy

    Giants & Hamilton appear to be a deadend. For the Giants. Reds will have better options to trade Billy. Work on Iglesias or Gennett.

  15. Andy

    “Great defensive 3B” sounds to me like “decent SS.” Reds need to be grooming Suarez or Senzel for SS, because Peraza is no regular starter.

    • Cbus

      I love this idea if Peraza falls flat the first 2 months of the season. But I think you have to give Peraza a chance first, he may be a .300+ avg SS with slightly above avg D that can steal 50 bases, I don’t think we know yet what he is. After 2 months if Peraza isn’t any better than last year than you bring up Senzel and Peraza becomes a valuable super sub that can cover CF, SS and be a late inning base stealer.

  16. Patrick

    I think Reds fans need to accept that Peraza is our SS for this year.