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

Hitting

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.

Power

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.

Defense

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.

Intangibles/Other

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.

Conclusions

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.

22 Responses

  1. Gaffer

    I think he is more likely .280/.345/.500 given his higher than ideal K rate and the juiced balls than a .300 hitter with 20 HR.

      • Gaffer

        Yes, but I should have said higher K to BB ratio than ideal. If he walks more it won’t be a problem. There is a ton of data on how a K rate double the walk rate is not ideal for sustainable hitting. I also think his power will be double his minors rate (see Drew Stubbs, Winker even Votto).

      • Doug Gray

        I think you need to read whatever you read again. Worse than 3-to-1 is not ideal. 2-to-1 is better than average.

  2. DaveCT

    A slight aside, I can recall a few occasions several years ago of debating, usually with Doug, the value of intangibles in evaluating a player. Seems like ancient history. Salad!

  3. Chris

    At what point did .280 become very good or get everybody excited? If he only hits .280 with 20 homers per year that is hardly great ESPECIALLY in today’s offensive climate.

    • Ksmit144

      By my count… Only 25 players in all of MLB completed that feat last year. So being a top 25 hitter, at least an average center fielder, and above average baserunner = superstar

    • Doug Gray

      Let’s be sure to say that I said .280 every year, with 20+ home runs, not 20. And also with 35+ doubles. From 2015-2018, a span of four seasons, there have been 48 instances of that happening. For those keeping track at home, that’s 12 guys in Major League Baseball per season. Those three stats aren’t the be all, of course, but there aren’t a lot of guys who can do it.

      Toss in that it’s from a guy who is going to play center field, and provide value on the bases? Yeah…. that’s probably something to be a little bit excited about, isn’t it?

    • Klugo

      .280 and 20HR/yr may be enough to get him in the HOF. That’s all.

  4. Doc

    Starting tomorrow we can forget projections and follow the actual data. Speaking of actual data, how is Vlad Jr tearing up the bigs?

    Just illustrates that we will need to be patient with Senzel offensively; nobody is a sure thing out of the big league gate, no matter how eye-popping they hit in the minors. I will be more interested in his defensive prowess from the get go.

  5. Mark

    I’m excited about this move! We can only hope this is the end for horrible Schebler. It’s becoming pretty clear Reds need to move Puig at the deadline to make way for Trammel in 2020 or O’Grady if Trammel not quite ready.

    • C W Lackey

      Puig has looked real good on defense in RF and I’m m not ready to give up on him let’s wait a little longer as in the past he he has shown he can carry a team. I am concerned about Votto. He takes a lot of strikes, a couple of times has not looked good on his base running. I am a big fan of Vottos’ and no way am I giving up on him. Iglesias at SS has been a great pick up as he has been good with the bat and on defense has been super, I hope by saying this I don’t jinx his play.Jesse Winker is one of my favorites and his batting average will climb and his power has been great. Overall the pitching has been really good BUT in my opinion Lorezen should not be in a game as a position player and doesn’t seem the manager does not trust his bench. Soon hopefully Bennett and Wood will be back real soon. Hey front office bring Ervin back and send down the present CF.

      • Cguy

        Votto is striking out way too much. 30 K in 115 PA is double what he normally does . In April of 2017, he struck out 13 times in 104 PA. In April of 2018, he struck out 14 times in 116 PA. I say move Votto down in the batting order, at least until he returns to getting on base more often. Puig is striking out at the same rate as Votto, & having both of them at the top of the lineup isn’t working.

  6. Klugo

    I expect him to hit a HR on his first pitch. It’ll all be down hill from there. A very small hill.

  7. doofus

    Does Senzel bat leadoff or does DB stick him down in the order?

  8. SaveTheFarm

    Please tell me Schebler isn’t the first one off the bench to pitch hit. He’s such a nice guy but .127 is intolerable. He didn’t hit the ball out of the infield yesterday. Right now he’s a rally killer.