The Reds reassigned top prospect Nick Senzel to minor league camp on Friday.
Why? Many reasons.
- Senzel was outperformed in camp by four other outfielders, but most importantly, by the player at his position, Scott Schebler.
- Schebler had perhaps the best overall camp of any Reds player: .379-.548-.690-.1.237, 11 for 29, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 4 SB.
- Senzel hit .308 with 0 HR, 3 RBI, 9 strikeouts and 0 walks. He was the only player (out of 16) in camp with more than 40 plate appearances that did not record a walk.
- Senzel, learning the position for the first time, played 73 innings of centerfield in camp, or a total of eight full games...with just 24 balls hit to him. He played a total of four night games in CF during camp.
- He never played the position in a ML game or minor league game.
- Senzel has played a total of 101 games above A-Ball, including 44 games at AAA.
- Sending Senzel to AAA for at least two weeks means the Reds gain an extra year of contractual control, meaning he could not become a free agent until after 2025, instead of after 2024. The Reds are not the first organization to take advantage of the rule in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. See the Cubs and Kris Bryant and the Braves and Ronald Acuna. If not for a late spring injury, the Jays were on that same path with wonder prospect Vlad Guerrero Jr.
It would certainly be disingenuous to not think point No. 7 was factor. But it would also be disingenuous to not consider the other six points.
Why are the Reds not recalling Senzel to play 2B after the Gennett injury?: Good question.
Senzel did not play an inning at 2B in camp. He has played 28 AAA games at 2B since being drafted in 2016. He also spent time at 2B in college.
The Reds say Senzel will continue to work on CF at AAA.
That would seem to eliminate the chances of him being recalled in two weeks (after clearing the service time hurdle) and playing 2B.
Iglesias did have a better all-around camp than Senzel: .341-.357-.537-.894, 2 HR, 7 RBI (14 for 41). He is a gold glove level shortstop for a team with
defensive questions. And Peraza has made 67 ML starts at 2B and played 199 games there in the minors.
The Reds are better defensively with Iglesias at SS and Peraza at 2B than Peraza at SS and Senzel at 2B.
While it appears Nick could be the Reds starting 2B in 2020, assuming Gennett leaves in free agency/or trade, Nick's more valuable if he can play CF.
2B are almost a dime a dozen, CF are a sought after commodity.
Maybe by the time two weeks are up, the Reds have traded Kemp and can stick Senzel in CF and then figure out how/when to use Schebler and Winker?
Sounds like a topic for Monday night on Sports Talk.