When the Cincinnati Reds drafted Nick Senzel out of the University of Tennessee with the second overall pick of the 2016 MLB Draft, they were obviously very high on the talented infielder. His bat was almost universally rated as the most polished among that crop of draftees, a college product likely on the fast track to the big leagues in the mold of Andrew Benintendi and Dansby Swanson before him.
Baseball America still believes that’s the case, too, as they recently ranked Senzel the #6 overall prospect in the game in their May 11th update to their Top 100 list. That’s up from the #9 spot he occupied prior to the start of the season, thanks in part to Benintendi and Swanson both graduating from the list and Alex Reyes’ Tommy John surgery, but it’s also testament to his decent overall play thus far not being enough to drop him. To date, Senzel is hitting .286/.354/.414 with Daytona in the notoriously pitcher-friendly Florida State League.
Even better, he’s been heating up significantly of late, with a .339/.400/.492 line in his last 15 games, which is more in line with the expectations placed on him prior to the season and may well have him en route to AA Pensacola sooner than later.
The #6 ranking is the highest by any Cincinnati Reds prospect since Jay Bruce checked in at #1 overall prior to the 2008 season, a year in which Homer Bailey also cracked the Top 10 and #9 overall. In other words, it’s not just you who are incredibly excited about the 3B’s potential, Reds fans.
Joining Senzel on the list is pitcher Amir Garrett, who rose up to #63 from a pre-season rank of #81. He hasn’t quite logged enough service time to graduate from the list altogether, while Cody Reed - who ranked #69 on the pre-season list - has accrued enough clock to no longer be eligible for being ranked. Jesse Winker, who once ranked as high as #47 on BA’s list (pre-2015) did not make the list this time.
That only two Cincinnati prospects were included can be a bit concerning, but it’s also indicative of the system having had a few recent graduates. Perhaps the only real quibble would be the omission of Tyler Stephenson, who ranked #98 overall on BA’s pre-2016 list and has thumped to the tune of .298/.400/.447 in 125 PAs this year after repeated injuries derailed his 2016 season.