When Nick Senzel’s season came to an end a few weeks early in 2022 he probably couldn’t imagine that a broken toe would lead to him missing the start of the following season. Unfortunately that is what happened as the bone didn’t heal properly and in November he had to undergo surgery to correct the issue. That led to him getting started in spring training a bit late and when the season began he had to start in Triple-A on a rehab assignment. That went well and he’s back in Cincinnati today and back on the active roster. Outfielder Will Benson has been optioned to Triple-A Louisville, who is in Toledo this week.

Late last season Nick Senzel made a swing change and things were starting to click as he began hitting the ball harder in the last two weeks than he had all season long. But then the injury came and halted that progress. While with Louisville on rehab assignment he played in seven games and hit .240/.406/.440 with two doubles and a home run. He walked six times and had seven strikeouts. But he was also hitting the ball quite hard. Of the 17 balls that he put in play on rehab with Lousville, seven of them were over 90 MPH, and four of them were over 100 MPH – including one that came off of the bat at 109.0 MPH. He’s only topped that twice in his career.

Defensively Senzel saw action in center field, left field, and at third base. Last season and this spring, manager David Bell has noted that Senzel could play multiple positions in order to get both himself and others into the lineup more frequently.

Will Benson had a strong spring training, but he didn’t draw a single walk and while he didn’t strike out a ton, he was striking out a fair amount. He made the team with his performance, but he struggled once the regular season began. Benson went 1-20 with one walk and with 12 strikeouts. He did play good defense, including making the catch of the week when he climbed the wall and reached into the stands in foul territory to make a catch last week. Still, 1-20 with 12 strikeouts simply isn’t going to cut it. He’ll head back to Triple-A to work on some things and try to get back to Cincinnati.

29 Responses

  1. LDS

    Senzel will never have a better opportunity than right now. If he doesn’t deliver, trade him.

    • CI3J

      Or better yet, if he DOES deliver, trade him. He seems far too injury prone, so if he can string together a few good months, see if someone else will take a flyer on him as a “change of scenery” type guy.

  2. DaveCT

    One thing that surprised me most last year was Nick’s lack of hard contact. I never expected Kris Bryant as some had, but I was hoping we’d get a guy lashing line drives to all fields. If we can get something close to a decent doubles hitting 3B/OF (and I hope 1B) guy, at this point, that’d be good value

  3. dimondfvr

    I read this quote from Manager David Bell, in Thursday’s article with Bobby Nightengale in the Inquirer. Reds Manager David Bell said. “The effort is there, no question, but we have to figure out what it takes to win these games because we’re playing with really good teams.

    What it takes to win “these games” is a talented bullpen that doesn’t blow ballgames and a manger who doesn’t make head scratching decisions.

    • Melvin

      “What it takes to win “these games” is a talented bullpen that doesn’t blow ballgames and a manger who doesn’t make head scratching decisions.”

      As in not replacing a hot good hitter with a very poor one would help too. 😉

      • 2020ball

        That AB showed us the team needs another RHH off the bench that isn’t terrible, hoping Senzel can play that role going forward. Fraley should probably never hit versus a stong LHP, but Newman as your choice instead looks a bit silly. If Fraley stuck out instead, I’m certain a lot of people on here would be all over Bell for letting him face a lefty, all without saying who they thought should be hitting instead.

  4. Old-school

    I like the lineup tonight

    Nothing wrong with giving guys legs a break and using the DH to keep a bat in the lineup(india) and get newman a spot start at 2b against the lefty

    Barrero is the SS
    India is the 2b
    Steer is 3b

    Senzel and Newman can get spot starts to keep those 3 fresh and playing 6/7 – thats 140 games and probably the right number to balance reat and productivity. Fairchild in the 3 hole @Jim

    If in a magic world votto came back strong in place of vosler and myers woke up and one of the non stephenson catchers played well… not a bad roster

    • DaveCT

      Basketball has been doing this (planned rests for ‘load management’) openly and with little to no criticism for some time. The baseball season is longer, the training is year round, and players need recovery time. Fatigue contributes to injuries as well as lesser performance. No one wants guys injured or underperforming

    • Optimist

      Slightly reducing workload, and easing position demands makes sense – but India and Stephenson still should play in 140+ games. Same for Friedl and Barrero unless and until either underperforms. Same for Steer as the preferred option to Newman or Senzel. One of the above will likely have a short spell injured or lag at the plate, but that’s the order I’d prefer.

      Barring strange developments, if the MLB lineup is performing OK by mid-season, and MiLB catchers are above average, I’d also keep Fairchild and go with 2 catchers the rest of the way.

    • 2020ball

      Maile is Casali’s back up and Casali is Maile’s back up. Gotta love time-splits for your back-up catcher role.

      • Melvin

        Who’s the backup for the backup that game though? Got to think ahead. You never know. Can NEVER be to careful when it comes to the catcher position. 🙂

  5. CI3J

    I feel for Benson, but it seemed like he lost whatever mojo he had early in Spring Training.

    Hopefully he can regain his confidence and batting eye in AAA with the pressure off and make a triumphant return to Cincinnati, because boy does he have some exciting tools, and the Reds could really use another reliable LH bat to go with Fraley and Friedl.

    Rooting for Senzel as well, but I wonder if it would be better for everyone involved for him to be traded if he plays well. Hopefully he can stay healthy until the All-Star Break, at least.

    • RedBB

      There were red flags in Spring Training that the Reds just chose to ignore. Think he had like 12 SO’s and 0 walks and 1 extra base hit for an OPS just above .700.

  6. DHud

    Hopefully just a night off for Friedl and not handing Senzel the CF job because something something #2 pick something top prospect

    At the end of the day performance is all that matters and it’s not hard to see who’s performed more between those two

    • CI3J

      It would be a terrible case of mismanagement if Senzel replaced one of the best hitters in baseball. Naturally, I’d expect nothing less from David Bell.

      But real talk, I’d like to see Senzel back at 3B with Steer moving around and/or DHing more, since Steer doesn’t seem to be that great defensively (at least at 3B). I just think Senzel looks so awkward in the outfield. He just doesn’t have “it” for playing out there.

      • shaggy

        i agree with you that senzel would be better at 3rd and steer better as super sub or 1st base. I’m still not ready to give up on senzel, I think he could still be a good player

      • 2020ball

        Senzel just needs to hit lefties and he’s a great piece for the bench.

      • Melvin

        The only person I’d feel comfortable with Senzel replacing right now is Myers. Everyone else he’d have to prove he can outplay…unless of course he learns to catch. ;)….or pitch. 🙂

    • DaveCT

      There is no way even Bell would bench Friedl for Senzel.

      With Senzel back, he assumes the Barrero role in CF, and Barrero plays short fulltime.

      Senzel is more likely to balance Fraley vs. LH pitchers, balance Steer when he’s not going great, and, I hope, get some time at 1B with Vosler.

      • 2020ball

        Yeah Friedl isnt sitting for Senzel, that’s just taking an easy shot at the manager since that gets everyones rocks off around here.

  7. Kevin H

    I am a senzel fan and mentioned numerous times if the coaches hadn’t tinkered with his swing his rookie year.

    Let’s hope this the season, however Friedl and Fraley should play daily no matter left or right handed pitcher. Go with your HOT players.

    • Mario

      Bottom line is players play and coaches coach. Senzel cannot blame the coaches for a batting stance or where he has been asked to play defense, he has had plenty of opportunities. I won’t root against a Reds player but cautiously optimistic about Nick’s return.

  8. RedBB

    Benson made a good catch but he did not play good defense…at least as far as Sabremetrics are concerned. -0.2 dWAR on BR and -0.1DEF on FG and -2 DRS.

  9. Jim Walker

    They got Myers a second chance by offering up Fairchild to end the 1st but he still struck out.