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Cincinnati Reds links - How Nick Senzel made it to professional baseball

Thursday links!

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Baseball America is an obvious must-read site for anyone with any real interest in the game, and yesterday they dropped a fantastic piece on recent Cincinnati Reds 1st round pick Nick Senzel. It chronicles the twists and turns his path to the draft took, including a two year stint in England without the game entirely during two of what usually are the most formative years for young players.  Vince Lara-Cinisomo spoke with Senzel's high school coach, Matt Buckner, and the entire exchange gives great insight to the challenges Senzel faced as an undersized, inexperienced kid trying to grow his game.

After reading through it, it's a bit easier to see how Senzel has stepped right into class A Dayton's lineup and hit the everliving snot out of the ball.

In other news, C. Trent Rosecrans looked at the chances of the Reds finishing with their worst single-season record in team history, and at least at this point, it looks as if they just might be in the clear.  The important difference between this year and 2015 - when the team had a similar record to this point - is that instead of rolling out some 60 straight games with a rookie pitcher, there's a big crop of veteran innings set to be pitched down the stretch, as Rosecrans emphasizes.

If you've not messed around with MLB.com's Statcast and Baseball Savant queries, I'd encourage you to do so.  Matt Meyers used it to break down exactly how Joey Votto has been hitting the ball so effectively in his recent otherworldly hot streak, and it's the kind of thing mythical baseball prototypes are made of.

Adam Duvall was in a walking boot yesterday as he recovers from fouling a ball off his foot, as MLB.com's Mark Sheldon noted yesterday. It seems there's no fracture and that the team isn't too concerned that he'll be out for an extended period, but when lineups came out for Thursday night's game, Duvall once again was not listed. Presumably he'll be back in the lineup at some point this weekend, but in the meantime it's given each of Tyler Holt, Scott Schebler, and Tony Renda the chance to get some regular playing time, which I guess is a good thing for sorting out how the Reds' OF may look around Billy Hamilton going forward.

Over at Cincinnati Magazine, Grant Freking checked in on Jonathon Crawford, the former 1st round draft pick of the Detroit Tigers who joined Eugenio Suarez in coming to Cincinnati almost two years ago in the trade that sent Alfredo Simon to the Motor City.  Crawford, still just 24, has battled shoulder issue after shoulder issue and now faces the prospect of being exposed to the Rule 5 draft should he not be placed on the Reds' 40-man roster, though from the sound of things, that's not something Jeff Graupe and the team's player development wing is going to let happen. If, and it's an admittedly big if at this point, Crawford can stay healthy, it's yet another very well regarded arm that the Reds will have in their quiver as the team's overall staff takes shape in the coming years.

Finally, there's been much said of late about the swoon that Brandon Phillips found himself in this season prior to his recent uptick in production, and how as of today he ranks just 20th out of 23 qualified 2Bs in terms of fWAR.  A big portion of that is his general decline - both his wOBA and wRC+ sit below his career marks and are in a similar range to where they've been during his overall 3-4 year decline - but as FanGraphs' Craig Edwards noted today, it's also in part due to the historic seasons being posted by his 2B peers.  It's truly remarkable how the keystone spot has had such a potent offensive season, one whose collective wRC+ of 105 would top the single season mark from Phillips in every full season he's had as a pro aside from 2011 (when he posted a career best 122).