The Cincinnati Reds announced that they’ve sent outfielder Nick Senzel to join Triple-A Louisville on a rehab assignment. The outfielder hasn’t played since May 3rd. He was placed on the COVID injury list the next day. He’s missed the last two weeks of play.

Senzel had a slump to begin the season, but over the last week-and-a-half before he hit the injured list he had hit .296/.321/.482 with just two strikeouts in 30 plate appearances. His 2-for-25 start to the season really dragged down his overall numbers despite the nice turn around there.

Every player needs a different kind of rehab to get ready. Joey Votto is scheduled to play tonight in Dayton, which will be hit fourth game between Louisville and Dayton and he’s hoping to be ready to make the trip to Toronto on Friday. That would be six days from when he began his rehab assignment. If we were to keep Nick Senzel on a similar timeline after missing the same amount of time as Votto that could have him return next week at some point during the Cubs series. Of course, maybe Senzel needs more, or less time than that.

Graham Aschraft, Taylor Motter to the taxi squad

The taxi squad still exists. And for teams in baseball one way they often have to use it is when they visit the Toronto Blue Jays. Canada requires athletes this year to be vaccinated to enter the country (they had an exemption last year) and players who aren’t don’t get to travel with the team. The Reds are adding Graham Ashcraft and Taylor Motter to the taxi squad starting tonight.

Ashcraft, the Reds #5 prospect, has a 1.65 ERA in Triple-A Louisville through seven starts. He hasn’t allowed a home run on the season and he’s struck out 30 batters. Surprisingly, though, he’s walked 17 batters this season (he walked just 37 last year in 111.0 innings. With a fastball that’s touched 101 MPH this year and has routinely sat 97-99, he’s more than just a velocity guy. Always a high ground ball rate pitcher, Ashcraft currently leads all of minor league baseball with a ground ball rate of 71.4%. For context, the average ground ball rate in major league baseball is 43.1% this season. Keeping the ball on the ground has led to next to no power against him. Ashcraft has faced 150 batters this season. They’ve managed one extra-base hit against him – a double back on May 1st. Opposing hitters have a .240/.333/.248 line against him this year.

Taylor motter has played in parts of four seasons in the big leagues with Tampa Bay, Seattle, Minnesota, Colorado, and Boston. He’s hit .191/.264/.312 in 440 plate appearances in the majors. This season in Louisville he’s hitting .245/.344/.566. He’s only played in 15 games because he signed after the season began, but he’s showing plenty of power – hitting two doubles and five home runs in that span.

24 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    This is good news. let’s see how Lil’ Senz shakes off the rust and performs. I’m in the camp that still believes he has the tools to play, even if he ends up back on the dirt.

    • DaveCT

      Plus 100. I root for this guy and think he’s just a superior athlete with skill. My fear is he will need a change of scenery to achieve more success.

  2. LDS

    Let’s hope Senzel can get through rehab without injuring himself .

    • Kevin H

      Most of his injuries have come from him hustling. I have no issues with a ball player giving his all. His other aliments have been illnesses. Not sure if you ever played ball but if you have then you know injuries happen.

      I am sure it is frustrating for him

      • DaveCT

        So is Byron Buxton’s. It’s not a character issue, which sarcasm implies.

      • LDS

        No, I made no insinuation of character, merely that he’s a fragile guy as is Buxton and gambling on either would be a sucker’s bet.

  3. Kevin H

    Great news, and I still believe Senzel is great player. He has just had a run of unfortunate circumstances.

    • David

      Or, as Lemony Snicket might say, A Series of Unfortunate Events.

      I dunno. I think Senzel is just injury prone and unlucky. Maybe his bad luck is all over with. I really hope so.

      Sometimes really athletic guys get injured because they have really great- quick athletic muscle response, but their connective tissues (tendons and ligaments) just don’t have enough elasticity to keep up with that twitch-muscle response.

      • doofus

        It seemed he had no “connective tissue’ or elasticity problems when he was a highly productive player at Tennessee.

      • greenmtred

        Isn’t he coming back from covid? That’s an unfortunate event, but it’s not an injury.

    • Pharmer85

      How do you define great? The numbers don’t bear that out. I think there’s something there but he’s not on the field enough to show it. I’ll put the over/under at 10 games before he’s back on IL.

      • jon

        And remember people didn’t want to give up Senzel in a possible Lindor trade. SMH.

    • doofus

      “Calling Doctor Fine, Doctor Howard!”

  4. William

    Senzel is good guy. I do not blame his injury history on him. It is sad, very sad, that such a talented player is injured so much. He is already 27 years old and never had great year in the MLB. Maybe he will be a late bloomer.

    • DaveCT

      William, you are correct, IMO. It is sad, especially given his accomplishments in college. Big things were expected of him that he obviously won’t achieve at this point considering all of the lost time. He was never going to be Kris Bryant or Matt Chapman but having a Matt Carpenter type of guy for 6 years would have been nice. Instead he might be David Wright or Ryan Zimmerman, injury plagued but talented.

      • Still a Red

        Hah…I’d take a Ryan Zimmerman career from him.

  5. William

    I think the Reds should move him to third base, but not until next year. Moving him around during the season may cause more harm than good.

  6. William

    The thing with Senzel is he might catch fire and become an all star next year. The talent is there, if he can stay on the field. I do not think that the Reds could get much for him now in a trade. Keep hope alive.

  7. Mark Moore

    Ugly first AB. K’d looking on a big bender.

  8. TR

    I wish Senzel good health because he has talent and is an integral part of the core with India, Stephenson, Barrero, and Greene and Lodolo of the Reds next competitive team.

  9. Jim t

    Would love to see Nick get back on the field with some consistency. He has talent and we need talent.