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Meet Cincinnati Reds Rookie Prospect Nick Senzel

Nick Senzel Rookie Profile

As I see it, there are three ways how to decide whether a player is going to be good or not – statistics, watching him play on the field, and what I do. I call it scouting from a distance. I take the player stats (season/career) as my base and then if I like them, I start researching the player. I look at his build, face, position compatibility (whether he fits the profile of the position he plays and whether that position is a position of need for the organization he plays for), read articles, reviews, etc.

Why? Because there are certain attributes which make a player great, and it’s not only his stats or baseball skills but everything else he does. How he looks, talks, behaves, handles himself on and off the field.

[the_ad id=”693″]The next factor is certainty. How certain am I that a player will become great (All-Star caliber)? Most prospects are too unpredictable, so their progress needs to be followed continuously. However, from time to time players come up who I profile and just feel they are special. And that is the deciding factor in my system – my instinct, my gut feeling. When I first started doing this, I had Carlos Correa and the late Jose Fernandez on top of my list. Their success convinced me I’m on to something.

The player to follow their footsteps is the #26 prospect overall, the #2 prospect in his position and the #1 prospect in his organization*. Without further ado, I present to you Nick Senzel. Selected as the #2 pick in last year’s draft by the Cincinnati Reds, Senzel was considered to be the safest pick of them all. Like destiny would have it, he landed in the perfect spot – he gets to play in a hitters ballpark for a team without a long-term solution at third base. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, he batted .352 with 8 HR and 25 SB in 57 games in his junior (last) year in college for the Tennessee Vols. After the Reds drafted the 21-year-old, they sent him to the Billings Mustangs in the Pioneer League where he went through the usual adjustment period for 10 games. Then he was sent to the Dayton Dragons (A) where he hit .329 with 7 HR, 15 SB, 49K, 32BB in 58 games – numbers very similar to his college ones.


[mks_one_half]The path for him is open, the franchise is his to own. Joey Votto is currently the best player on the Reds roster, but he is 33, and there is no one else who could take such a burden on his shoulders and become a team leader. Senzel is already a true professional at his young age. He has the work ethic, the plate discipline, and the defensive skills to become a complete package. He has some cockiness to him (I see that as a negative), yet so do many young players. It’s never bad to be self-confident, as long as you don’t let it get in your way to success. He’ll need to find that balance between arrogance and humbleness that separates the great ones from the good ones. Votto, who has dealt with personal issues himself, might just be exactly what the doctor ordered in that regard. I see Scott Rolen, who was an underestimated fantasy contributor at his pick, as his floor, and Josh Donaldson as his ceiling. Some players need the seasoning to develop, and then there are players for whom the minor leagues are not a big enough challenge. They need to be thrown to the lions, learn how to survive and then thrive. Senzel belongs to that second category.

I believe he’ll debut in 2017, probably sooner rather than later, and won’t look back. He’ll show his hitting skills right out of the gate by batting around the .300 range for the first month/month and a half after being called up, and then settle down towards .260 the rest of the way with plenty of stolen bases and home runs.

Normally, I write a few details about players when I add and update them on my prospect list. After scouting Nick Senzel this is what I wrote: “MUST HAVE!!!”. I don’t think he will excel in any one category. Instead, he will do a little bit of everything: hit around the .300 average mark, be a sneaky base stealer (15-20 per season), hit over 20 home runs, have around 90 runs and 100 RBI, not too many strikeouts, enough walks and good slugging and on-base percentages. Smart fantasy owner’s gold.

Senzel had a scare this spring when he was hit by a pitch on the wrist during batting practice. Luckily it didn’t turn out to be anything serious, and he was able to join his minor league teammates. He made his Spring Training debut for the Reds shortly after that. And what do you think happened? He had a broken-bat RBI double in his only at bat of course. Yes, it’s only one at bat, but it pretty much exemplifies who I think he will become. A player who gets the job done.





[the_ad id=”567″]The Reds are a small market team and don’t usually have superstars on their roster. But they do have a way of finding players who silently go about their business (Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, Brandon Phillips…), thus becoming undervalued in fantasy drafts. Senzel seems to fit the mold. There is also the case when players are great fantasy contributors, but fair much worse on the field of play. Or, the more common scenario, when players are excellent in real life, but that doesn’t translate to fantasy value. And then there are those who strive in both realms. Senzel fits that mold too.

To conclude, there are always plenty of boom or bust candidates in every MLB draft. Nick Senzel is a boom. Simple as that. He’ll be an All-Star and top 10 fantasy third baseman for years to come. Senzel will be sensational!

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