Montgomery, Alabama —— Entering play on Wednesday night, Cincinnati Reds third base prospect Nick Senzel is slashing .312/.376/.488/.864 over 98 games across two levels in the Reds’ organization in 2017, including time with the Southern League‘s Pensacola Blue Wahoos, with 37 doubles, three triples, eight home runs, 10 stolen bases and 36 walks against 86 strikeouts over 381 at-bats. I observed the prospect in three games for Pensacola in late July on the road at Montgomery; below is Baseball Census‘ full Nick Senzel scouting report, including video.
Nick Senzel Scouting Report — Video
Our video of Cincinnati Reds third base prospect Nick Senzel shows his at-bats over several different games for the Blue Wahoos on the road against the Montgomery Biscuits, taken from points of view on both sides of the plate:
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Nick Senzel Scouting Report — Notes
Flat footed at the plate with a wide stance, Nick Senzel is a plus-plus contact hitter with exceptional eye-coordination and barrel to ball skills, but I’m skeptical he’ll be a true source of plus power as his approach stands now. He’s wide set with very little movement for leverage in his swing—almost as if he’s in a two-strike approach throughout his entire at-bat—and it’s robbing him of bat speed and momentum to drive the ball in the air with authority. That said, the Cincinnati Reds prospect has hit for average at every single stop in his minor league career, and his contact skills are good enough to the point where they may help him overcome below-average power totals as a corner infielder in the big leagues. The third baseman has phenomenal pitch recognition and strike zone awareness, and (no doubt a product of his wide stance right now) he’s rarely off balance through the ball. Senzel is a good athlete, though; there’s no doubt a more dynamic approach at the plate would do him well, if he can find that balance between adding momentum and leverage and maintaining his hit-for-average tools.
Defensively, Nick Senzel’s athleticism shows off at third base, too. A strong lower half allows him to move well laterally at the position, and he made two very nice, high jumps to catch line drives up over his head in the three games I observed—no doubt a product of very quick reactions at the hot corner. His arm is strong, though its better asset is accuracy, and he’ll no doubt stay at third base well into his big league career. Ultimately, he has a legitimate shot to be an everyday third baseman of the future in Cincinnati.
Nick Senzel Scouting Report — Projection
The Cincinnati Reds love Nick Senzel, the prospect evaluators across media digital and print love Nick Senzel, and it’s clear how valuable he could yet become for the big league club in another years’ time. I’m probably a lot less bullish on his power than almost anybody, and I think his wide stance with a lack of leverage may yet turn him into a too one-dimensional hitter against better and better pitching, but there’s no question he’s got a shot to hit for average and play solid defense in the big leagues—a formidable combination, to be sure.
He reminds me of a slightly smaller Scott Rolen, with likely slightly less power but similar contact skills and defensive prowess. Of course, the Cincinnati Reds would be delighted if Nick Senzel were to fall anywhere close to Rolen’s remarkable career when it’s all over for the prospect; point being, the young third baseman is an impact big-leaguer-to-be who has adjusted very well to Double-A and should find himself in the conversation at the beginning of spring training 2018.
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