On June 9th, the Cincinnati Reds will have the 2nd selection in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft. Over the next few weeks, the team here at Red Reporter will scour the internet to bring you scouting reports, statistics, and moving pictures of all of the prospects being linked to the Reds pick.
Regulars here at Red Reporter who keep with all things Reposted will recognize the name Nick Senzel, as a few months ago I told you all about how he was the top riser on the draft board.
That hasn't changed, and while some have sputtered (Puk) or faltered (Lewis, relatively) slightly down the stretch, Senzel has kept on swinging and swinging. (I should also note that he's hitting and hitting, lest you think he's some Curt Casali-esque chucker).
Widely regarded as the most advanced college bat on the board, Senzel is expected to be taken early and rise quickly through a minor league system. Coming into the season, there was a bit of a concern about his ability on defense, but a move to shortstop and a decent showing have alleviated those concerns considerably.
Last week I described to you how many doubters of Kyle Lewis's game were silenced because of his showing in the wooden bat Cape Cod League. Thing is: Nick Senzel was in the Cape in 2015 as well, and he was substantially better than Lewis, slashing .364/.418/.558 in 154 at bats and earning MVP honors.
Senzel is hitting 352/.456/.595 in 210 ABs for the Vols this season, thought Tennessee lost to LSU in the SEC championship last week. Senzel's college career is over.
Professional Scouting Grades (via Fangraphs from earlier this season)
Raw Power: 55/60 Game Power: 50
Senzel entered the season as a candidate for the back half of the first round, but now that he’s allaying concerns about his glove and continues hitting, he may be forcing his way into the top 15 on teams’ draft boards. He doesn’t offer star upside, but the swing and the track record make you feel pretty good about his floor as a major league regular. As a good-case scenario, I wouldn’t be surprised if he hits .280 with 15-18 homers from the two-hole through his peak years, providing passable defense at third base along the way.
As always, John Sickels has a great breakdown of Senzel at Minor League Ball:
At is stands Senzel will be a high-average, high-OBP hitter with moderate power, but with some adjustments that could change in favor of additional ISO with the loss of some batting average. The OBP should remain strong at all levels given Senzel's feel for the zone.
Senzel is only up to number nine on MLB.com's top 100:
Undrafted out of a Tennessee high school in 2013, Senzel could be the first position player selected this year and pass Todd Helton (No. 8 overall in 1995) as the highest pick in Volunteers history. He combines strength and bat speed from the right side of the plate, and his patient all-fields approach should help him to hit for both average and power. Senzel exhibits average to solid speed and has the instincts to steal a few bases.
It is worth noting that Jonathan Mayo at MLBPipeline has Senzel ultimately going number two to the Reds after the Phillies take AJ Puk in his latest mock.
What should the Reds do?
I wish you'd stop asking me that.
Look, Senzel is a very fine player that does some very fine things. Some very good things, even. And that's absolutely fine.
At number two overall, I'd really like someone who does everything better than fine. I want to be wow'd. I want to be seduced!
Unfortunately, I'm not sure that there is anyone at the top of the draft that qualifies as "seducing," unless you completely ignore all of their various flaws.
And so I'm fine with Senzel at number two. The Reds could do a lot worse than to pick a guy that will be imminently signable, who should be able to help them sooner rather than later. Senzel's got the highest floor of any of the top picks. He's not necessarily "bust proof," but it's not a stretch to imagine him carving out an everyday spot fairly easily, even if he never becomes a perennial All Star.