- Born June 29, 1995.
- Bats: Right; Throws: Right
- Attended Farragut High School in Knoxville, Tennessee (the same high school attended by Kyle Waldrop, but not that Kyle Waldrop), and then the University of Tennessee, also in Knoxville.
- Was formerly a commit to the University of Georgia, but was allowed to be released from that commitment after Georgia fired their head baseball coach. He played his first season at UT as a walk-on.
- Didn’t play baseball in junior high, as his family lived in England at the time.
- Drafted by the Reds in the first round (2nd overall) of the 2016 amateur draft.
- Made his Major League debut with the Reds on May 3rd, 2019.
- Pre-Arb. First arbitration year: 2022; Free agent eligibility: 2026
So, turns out, gifs of Nick Senzel don’t really exist on the internet. So, instead, enjoy some video, courtesy of MLB.com.
I’ll keep this relatively brief, because we’ve written a lot about Nick Senzel around these parts over the course of the offseason. The keys to Nick Senzel’s 2020 season with the Reds are these:
- Remaining a part of the Reds organzation
- Getting healthy / recovering from 2019 shoulder surgery
- Staying healthy for (most) of the 2020 season
- Getting back to doing what he’s always done.
Remaining a Red is no small part. I think it’d be a fairly large surprise if Senzel didn’t break camp as a Cincinnati Red once spring training ends (or, at the very least, still a part of the organization). He’s been involved in trade rumors all winter long, even as late as last week, according to Dennis Lin at the Athletic.
Nick Senzel is, potentially, a very good Major League baseball player, and has already been a very good amateur and minor league baseball player. He’s also very young and controlled on the cheap for the next several years. He’d be a good building block for all 29 other teams in the league.
Thing is, he’s also a pretty damn good building block for the Reds. Coupled with the fact that he ended the 2019 campaign with a fairly serious shoulder surgery, and it seems impossible for the Reds to extract fair market value out of the former top 10 prospect even if they were looking for a trade.
So, that’s the next major and obvious point: Senzel needs to prove he’s recovered from 2019’s shoulder surgery and, also, prove that he can stay healthy over the long haul. Past injuries don’t necessarily predict future injuries, but labrum surgery for a baseball player is a pretty serious deal (just ask Scott Schebler). Coupled with the other various, minor injuries that Senzel has suffered through during his tenure with the organization, and add on the lingering vertigo issues, and things begin to pile up.
None of that’s to say this is Nick Senzel’s fate, or that he’s particularly injury prone and because of that, will never amount to anything (I’m sure you can mosey on down to the comment section for that discussion). But it’s why I have to tack the word “potentially” on a few paragraphs again. A strong recovery and a healthy year will likely prove us, and the Reds correct.
Which brings us to the last point: Nick Senzel’s been a good baseball player for a long time. Still, once he fell upon some struggles last season, even when healthy, the club used it as an opportunity to tweak his swing. And, why not after the returns they got from Aristides Aquino, Tucker Barnhart, and even Joey Votto?
It didn’t work, and Senzel didn’t seem to be a huge fan of it. He’s going back to his original batting stance this season to go along with a (hopefully) healthy shoulder. The Reds outfield sure is crowded, but it’s also not necessarily counting on Nick Senzel to be a phenom (like when he was the next future franchise savior at shortstop, and then center field, two positions he’d never previously played as a pro). So, Nick just has to go back to doing what he does best: playing baseball. And being good at it.