The minor league season is now complete as we await for the Arizona Fall League to begin play on October 9th.

The Reds had three farm teams compete in post season competition.

The AA Pensacola team qualified for the playoffs by clinching a 2nd half wild card spot. They lost the first round best of five game series 3 – 1 to the Biloxi Shuckers.

The A+ Daytona team is participatied in the post season playoffs thanks to being the 1st half division winners. They defeated the Clearwater Threshers 2 – 1 in the first round three game playoff series. The Tortugas then lost 3 – 1 to the Fort Meyers Miracle in the FSL Championship best of five series.

The R Billings team clinched a playoff birth by being the second half division winners. Billings lost the first round best of three game playoff series against Great Falls 2 – 0.

 
The Senzel Plan

Is there really one?

As you have most likely already heard by now, the Reds have Nick Senzel in Instructional League learning to play the outfield. Dick Williams, the Reds’ President of Baseball Operations, stated the following:

“We think and know he can help us in the infield. That’s very much in our plans for the future. But we’ve got an elite infield at the Major League level right now and everybody sees that. The more ways he can find to help the Major League team, the more value he’s going to have to us and the more likely he is to crack the Major League roster.”

I’d agree that we have an elite (very good at least) Major League infield offensively. Defensively is another story as the Reds are sub par at three of the four positions (SS, 2B, and 1B), and even Eugenio Suarez regressed in the field at 3B this season.

The Reds have been in major rebuild mode the last several years and their current top prospect, Senzel, played only 3B up until this season. Then, just as his bat rises him to the top level of the minors, they give him the full blown utility player treatment positionally. Now Senzel has been exposed shortly to SS, 2B, and now OF, with the given reasoning, that the top prospect on team losing 90 games every year, should be flexible so he can crack the lineup. In a rebuild, shouldn’t the top prospect, and a very successful one, be having the path cleared for him to become one the building blocks of the organization?

If the Reds truly believe as Williams states, “…we believe that Nick is an elite infielder and has a long-term future as an elite infielder.” Shouldn’t an elite bat and IF have a pretty easy time cracking the lineup of a 90 loss team with defensive issues in the IF?

Please, someone give me a hint of what this “…plans for the future.” that Dick Williams speaks of is, and just when the future might get here. Nick Senzel is ready to improve our IF now and he should have been developed to slide right into place as a major building block of this team going forward. Instead the Reds come across to the waning fan base as an indecisive organization with no clear plan to bring this endless rebuild to conclusion.

15 Responses

  1. David

    Senzel probably cannot play SS at a Major League proficiency.

    SS is probably the hardest position to play daily, along with catching.

    Can Senzel learn to catch?

    If Senzel can play center (why not?) and the Reds bench/waive Billy “0.621 OPS” Hamilton, the team should be a little stronger. Likely as not, Senzel comes up in May or whatever in 2019 (to avoid Super 2 status) and does indeed play utility schmuck for the Reds.

    But the Reds won’t waive or drop Billy, because he’s so GREAT defensively, etc.

    And unless they trade Gennett or Suarez (and neither move is unthinkable, just very unlikely), I don’t know where Senzel, top prospect, gets to play.

    The GREAT PLANNED REBUILD!! ™ goes forward.

    • Michael Smith

      Great points David. The four positions that are easiest to get him into also have sub 30 year old good to great bats at the position.

      As weird as this is to say its a good spot to be in when you are going to have to Zoborist Senzel to get him playing time. Now only if he could pitch…

  2. Eddiek957

    Possibly nick is being groomed for a happ like role with the reds. Playing everyday just not at the same position

  3. Scottya

    Kris Bryant is an example of what the Reds are working toward doing.

    Senzel can apparently play, a + defense at 3b and 2b, as he has won awards at both positions in the minors for his defense there. He can “play SS” (as Williams said) and now there working him in LF, if he can handle LF (well enough) then they’ll try CF. That seems like a fairly reasonable plan.

    I agree that the Reds team infield defense is a concern, however if we are looking at competing in 19′, I like the idea of Gennett at 2b and Senzel playing various positions from 3b, 2b and OF in 2019. The team will be better in 19′ if they do this, but only if the rotation is addressed in a pretty significant way and I think the FO has communicated that the intention is to add in the FA market this offseason. The needs are clear Pitching, Pitching and Pitching and addressing CF will be wise also.

  4. Scottya

    OldSchool,

    What would your wins projection be for 2019 if we sign a really good SP and trade for another #3 type SP, remove Bailey from the roster, keep Gennett at 2b and play Senzel in LF, RF, 2b and a little 3b?

  5. Jim Walker

    And DW has been back and forth about whether could play SS in the majors; and, that’s just in the last 2 weeks.

    So, overall I agree with the statement in your first comment that they are just throwing mud at the wall to see what sticks.

    Maybe where Senzel plays is dependent who they have to trade to get the pitcher(s) they want? Scooter is not going to get that done for them with 1 year of team control left. Looking back at what it took to get Latos, I think they are going to have to lead with Winker (or Senzel himself) to get a pitcher approaching that same impact level and with several years of team control. Or Suarez with his long team friendly contract could fit the bill and require fewer (if any) complimentary pieces.

    Buckle your seat harnesses because that’s what is ahead if they are really going after top pitching talent.

  6. David

    Scooter Gennett, fan favorite. Frankly, I like Scooter a lot. A nice guy, and has been a really positive offensive player the last two years. Not a very good 2nd baseman, though. And defensively, the infield for the Reds is quite a bit below average. None of them are remarkable defensively, and likely to get crummier.
    And there are a lot fewer fans going to the games these days, because this will be another year with +90 losses. Hooray for winning.Scooter, fan favorite for a more select crowd.
    If trading ANYBODY can get starting pitchers and get them closer to 0.500 or better, I am all for it.

  7. David

    Castellini as owner does not want to do the things necessary to make this team a winner. The advice he is getting from Jocketty is undermining Williams. I don’t care who has what title in the Front Office, the Reds have no direction in terms of evaluating player talent and roster strategy, to put it in the muddiest of terms.

    And we will be stuck with a Castelllini running this team as owner for a long time to come.

  8. cfd3000

    Scooter Gennett leads the Reds in batting average, a statistical category that is more interesting for historical reasons than productive ones. He does not lead the team in OPS, Slugging, or OBP, nor in WAR or the more modern and inclusive stats of wRC+ or any of the other “w+” categories. He’s a good hitting 2nd baseman, but he’s not a great hitter and he’s a mediocre 2nd baseman at best, with no positional flexibility. He literally can’t play anywhere else in the field with the possible exception of 1st base. It’s nice that he’s helped the Reds, but he’s not even close to indispensable. And I would argue that if all other things were perfectly equal, Nick Senzel will be FAR more productive at the plate and provide FAR better defense at 2B for the next 6 years than Scooter.

    Teams can make a productive trade when they have players to offer with perceived value to other teams, and especially so when that team has a surplus at some position, or a player who may be perceived as worth more to other teams than to his current team. The former of those clearly applies to the Reds and Gennett, and the latter may apply to Gennett. The conclusion is that if Gennett can be packaged in trade to fill a need (starting pitching!) then he should be moved to clear a spot at 2B for Nick Senzel. The Reds will get a modest upgrade at 2B, and a real upgrade in starting pitching. So obvious it will probably never happen.

    If Gennett cannot be moved in a productive trade then I’m fine to keep him and use Senzel as a super utility guy playing EVERY DAY at multiple positions. But if LF is one of those, it must come at the expense of playing time for Billy Hamilton. If that means Schebler in center and Winker in right, fine. The upgrade to the offense swapping Senzel for Hamilton will offset any modest reduction in defense many times over. But if Senzel is taking a spot from Winker or Schebler and BHam continues to play then the net gain is nearly zero. And given that there is a huge opportunity to upgrade the offense by replacing Hamilton, that would be a front office crime.

    • cfd3000

      Oops. Switched up my references. Gennett clearly plays a position with multiple redundancy in the Reds system, and may have perceived value to other teams that is higher than his value to the Reds. I had it the other way round in my initial post.

  9. cfd3000

    Seriously, you want to pull from the lineup the hitter who, even in an off year, is literally the hardest batter to get out in the entire league? The one who reaches base 5% more often than the 2nd hardest out? Disagree.

  10. Jeff Reed

    A very cogent post, Tom. Your last sentence describes this season for me to a T.

  11. Bill j

    Tom, I too agree with your last sentence. Something has to be done about the infield, the play last night that to me cost the Reds 3 runs was when Harvey fielded the bouncer and no one was at first base. You could see Harvey was upset and then made a bad pitch. Is Votto afraid Scooter can’t field or throw, he was way out of position. I am afraid next year will be more of the same without MAJOR changes.

  12. Timmy RedLeg

    I agree that they,(Reds), could stand to get better defensively in the infield. But remember, in previous seasons, ‘14,’15,’16, they had 1 of the best defensive infield’s in the National League & lost 80+ games once, & 90+ twice. My point is that it’s not easy to find 4 infielders that can be great offensively & defensively at the same time.

  13. Phil

    A first ballot hall of famer coming off the bench? Shame on you!!