Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price talked about Nick Senzel this morning with the media. John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer was the first to report what the manager had to say about where Senzel will play this spring. Price noted that the Reds top prospect would be seeing time at third base and shortstop – but that second base or the outfield could be possibilities later if there were any injuries or performance issues.

That is a rather interesting development. Heading into the offseason the plan seemed to be for Nick Senzel to work on second base and the outfield. And to his credit, he absolutely did those things. Even more to his credit, he also took it upon himself to work at shortstop. Fast forward to the start of the spring and it’s his idea, not the one that the Reds laid out, that is going to be the teams first option.

Can Nick Senzel realistically play shortstop? That’s perhaps the single biggest question and one that I wrote a whole bunch of words about on Friday. As I finished that article up with, we don’t know if it will work or not just yet, but I can’t stress enough that I’m glad to see that the team is actually giving it a try. By comparison to other ideas that were talked about and never followed through with, it’s good to see that it will at least be given a look.

Given the depth at the shortstop position in the Cincinnati Reds organization right now, and with the season that Jose Peraza is coming off of, Nick Senzel being able to play shortstop would be an incredible answer to a few of the Reds problems. It will be interesting to see how this situation develops. If the signs are there that this could work, it could mean that Senzel heads to Louisville to start the season to keep things going and getting more action at shortstop. At that point the pressure will once again be on Jose Peraza to fight for his job, much like he had to do in 2017 when Scooter Gennett began breathing down his neck.

27 Responses

  1. AlphaZero

    I’ll believe it when I see it, but Senzel seems like an extremely hard worker and is much quicker and more athletic than I originally thought when he was drafted. He may be able to handle the position for a few years and can always slide back to third if he loses a step or the Reds develop a better solution at the position.

  2. Jake

    I love it. They already have enough outfielders, and I’m not sure he could handle center.

    And by my count between now and the near future they have like 5 options for second base (Long, Blandino, Gennett, Peraza, Herrera).

    Even if he provides just average defense, it would solve many depth issues.

    • Colorado Red

      even if he is just a bit below average, it still solves many issues.
      I also love his attitude. You want me to play shortstop?
      OK, I will show up a month early and start working.

      • Jake

        He may very well be the best hitter in the entire system behind only Votto, but the humiliity and team-first attitude he brings to the table is both refreshing and important.

        Of course, showing the ability to be an MLB-quality SS will help his future paychecks, so he has incentive to make it work.

      • KyWilson1

        Some would call it humility, I would call it smart business. If he can make himself a SS, he will likely make himself more money. He also isnt stupid and sees the Reds have Saurez locked in at 3rd, and many options at 2nd/of. By doing this he possibly starts his service clock sooner, and at a position with premium value. Either way, its a good look for the kid.

      • Colt Holt

        I can’t imagine that SS would start his clock earlier. If he becomes the Reds starting SS, I can’t imagine that happening before June. He will be given ample time to learn in the minors and make mistakes there before thrown into the fire…especially given the teams selfish motivation of service time.

  3. Reaganspad

    I see him handling SS for a few years and being an all star, before he moves to 4 other positions with the Reds because of the best interests of the team, we win 4 of the next 6 world series and 10 of the next 20

    15 years from now, Senzel will be playing out the final 4 years of his long term contact at first base because Joey was finally sent off to the hall of fame and Senzel had to move to 1st base as the catching crouch was starting to impact the fluidity of his swing.

  4. The Duke

    I’m 100% on board. Given that we need to delay his service clock as it is, why not give this a shot? It gives Peraza a last chance to prove himself a starter, and if he can’t start off well, he can slide into a utility role backing up SS, 2B, and CF.

    I wonder if this is partially a belief in Shed Long. He seems to be the top contender as the long term 2B if it isn’t Senzel. A lot of people seem to believe in him, plus is we just ride out this year and next with Scooter at 2B, the time lines work out pretty good as well. 2018 in AA and AAA for Shed, then AAA in 2019 until an opening arises.

    • Jake

      I’ve also wondered this.

      Of course, if Long catches fire and flies through Pensacola and tears up Louisville, we may even see Scooter traded with Long taking over as soon as next year. That’s of course assuming Long continues to develop as expected, and that may be a fast timeline.

  5. Billy

    Suppose Senzel tears the cover off the ball and plays a surprisingly adequate SS at Louisville. Say Peraza and Suarez are both hitting well also, and the Reds aren’t far enough out to be sellers at the deadline. If Hamilton isn’t hitting, would the Reds consider bringing Senzel up and moving Peraza to CF?

    • Cbus

      Yes. In my mind worst of Hamilton, Peraza or Scooter gets replaced by Senzel after 1-2 months as long as he is hitting well in AAA.

    • GM Nep O'Tism

      I would imagine that in that situation Peraza would play 2B or CF every time they face a left-handed starter…

      Peraza .609 OPS vs RHP, .655 OPS vs LHP
      Hamilton .674 OPS vs RHP, .537 OPS vs LHP
      Gennett .930 OPS vs RHP, .691 OPS vs LHP (.691 is worse than it looks, bolstered by SLG, but hit .248 with a .287 OBP)

      He’d likely play CF in the smaller parks where Hamilton’s speed is less necessary on defense, and 2B everywhere else. At least that’s my guess. 2 position platoon.

  6. Billy

    You would think this is disappointing news to Peraza. After the team doing nothing to address SS all offseason, you’d think he read that as a sign that the team sees him as the SS of the future. Now he sees that one of the top prospects in all of baseball – who will be ready early in the season – could well be taking his job. Hopefully Peraza was in on the plan all along, because this could be a morale killer otherwise.

    • stock

      Or a huge motivator. If it is a morale killer he is not the type of player the Reds need. I know it would make me focus on bringing value and for Peraza that is all in BB%. Be selective at the plate and get on 35% of the time and his job is secure.

    • Scooter Rolen

      It could be an attempt to keep Peraza at 2B, maybe they like him better there? But yeah, not exactly great news for Jose anyway.

  7. Hoyce

    I guess this means the reds are out of the manny machado at SS sweepstakes for next year!!

    • stock

      We could put Machado in left, Harper in right and find a spot in the rotation for Kershaw.

      Sign all three and be the most improved team in the 2018-2019 off-season.

  8. AirborneJayJay

    Pretty interesting news that has several ripples and ramifications.
    The April 1 starting 8 will be different come August 1. That seems very apparent. Winker and Senzel will be lineup fixtures by then.
    It would be nice to see one othet big OF upgrade by then too

  9. Matthew O'Neal

    What would it take to get Kevin Kiermaier from the Rays. They’ve shipped off Odorizzi and Souza Jr. They DFA’d Dickerson… An outfield of Winker, Kiermaier, Duv/Scheb … IF of Votto, Hererra/Scooter/Peraza, Senzel, and Suarez… that’s a good lineup.

    • Kap

      Very good lineup. With kiermaier’s skillset, the Rays stance in a potential rebuild, and what the brewers gave up for yelich (who is a decent comparison although a stepper one), I would say mahle, long, and friedl could get it done

  10. Bill

    If Senzel proves viable at SS, this will be huge for the Reds as Peraza can move to CF or simply serve in a utility role. Competitive teams have solid benches stocked with quality players capable of covering for inevitable injuries.

  11. Gilbert Keith Chesterton

    The Reds could just shift everybody out of position, and move Votto back to catcher and Hamilton back to SS :)

  12. kevin z

    I believe this the right move if Senzel can turn the double play I think can play SS.
    The shifts will help a lot. if SS was being played like the old days he may not be able handle it. I’m pretty confident He can play it at least as well as Correa or tad better