Tag: Cincinnati Reds

Nick Senzel: Prospect Profile for Cincinnati Reds’ 1st-Round Pick

Player: Nick Senzel

Position: 3B/SS

DOB: June 29, 1995 (20 years old)

Height/Weight: 6’1″, 205 lbs

Bats/Throws: R/R

School: Tennessee

Previously Drafted: Not drafted



Nothing sends a college baseball player’s draft stock soaring quicker than a strong showing in the Cape Cod League.

Nick Senzel won MVP honors last summer.

Playing for the Brewster Whitecaps, he led the league in hits (56), doubles (16), RBI (33) and runs scored (34) while hitting .364/.418/.558 with four home runs and 14 stolen bases.

Also, MLB scouts voted him the Outstanding Pro Prospect and, just like that, he was in the conversation to be a top pick in the 2016 draft.

If he’s not the best pure hitter in the draft, he’s in the top three,” Baseball America editor John Manuel told Dustin Dopirak of the Knoxville News Sentinel“I think he’s perceived as one of the safest picks in the draft… There’s really high confidence in the scouting community that he will be at least an average big league hitter if not an above-average big league hitter, and there are not too many guys who inspire that kind of confidence.”

That’s quite a rise in profile for a player who was not even drafted out of high school.

Despite going undrafted, Senzel started as a true freshman, with most of his playing time coming as the team’s designated hitter. He went on to hit .315/.419/.420 with 12 doubles, one home run, 39 RBI and 14 stolen bases to earn Freshman All-American honors.

As a sophomore, he led the Volunteers in batting average (.324), hits (65), doubles (12) and triples (5) while playing alongside eventual first-round pick Christian Stewart.

Tabbed as a consensus preseason All-American this year after his strong summer league performance, Senzel has delivered with a terrific all-around junior campaign.

He’s currently batting .352/.456/.595 with 25 doubles, eight home runs, 59 RBI, 57 runs scored and 25 stolen bases in 29 attempts.

Prior to Senzel, the highest-drafted player in University of Tennessee history was Todd Helton, who went No. 8 overall in the 1995 draft. Things turned out pretty well with him.


Pick Analysis

Scouts fell in love with Senzel this summer, and the praise has continued into what will almost certainly be his final season at Tennessee.

He may not have the highest ceiling, but his floor could be the highest among all of the college bats, and there’s something to be said for selecting a player who is a safe bet to at least develop into an everyday player.

Baseball America sang his praises while ranking him as their No. 6 overall prospect:

His carrying tool is his right-handed bat. Senzel is a patient hitter with a mature approach and a swing that’s geared up for line drives. He makes consistent hard contact in games and in batting practice. Senzel shows the ability to drive the ball with authority to the opposite field or to his pull-side gap. He hits more for doubles than home runs at this point, but he can show raw power in batting practice when he’s asked to, leading some evaluators to believe that he will develop more game power as he continues to mature.

This spring, Senzel has shown significantly improved defense in the infield, shifting to shortstop later in the season from third base. He reacts quickly and shows solid first-step quickness. Senzel has average arm strength and projects to stay in the left side of the infield.

He runs well, with average speed down the line, but he has good base-running instincts, allowing his speed to play even better.

There’s really nothing negative to take away from that scouting report, and if Senzel does indeed develop more game power than expected, he has a chance to be a star.


Pro Comparison: Anthony Rendon

There’s a lot of lines in the above scouting report that sound an awful lot like descriptions of Anthony Rendon: a patient right-handed hitter with doubles power and the potential for more; a solid defender at third base who is capable of playing up the middle; average speed that plays up due to good baserunning instincts.

Rendon was the top college bat in the 2011 draft and a candidate to go No. 1 overall, but injury issues caused him to slip to No. 6 overall, where he was scooped up by the Washington Nationals.

The injury woes have continued in his MLB career, but at his best Rendon was a legitimate MVP candidate in 2014.

That year, he hit .287/.351/.473 with 39 doubles, 21 home runs, 83 RBI, 17 stolen bases and an NL-high 111 runs scored for a 6.6 WAR and a fifth-place finish in MVP voting.

A stat line like that is probably the absolute best-case scenario for Senzel, but he’s capable of turning in a slightly watered-down version of that on a yearly basis if he can show all the same tools he has in college at the pro level.


Projection: Starting third baseman who hits for average, 15-plus home runs


Major League ETA: early 2019


Chances of Signing: 95 percent

Senzel lived up to the hype that comes with winning Cape Cod MVP, and his standing as a top-10 pick should put an end to his time in Knoxville.


All college stats courtesy of The Baseball Cube, unless otherwise noted, and current through Wednesday, June 8.

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Brandon Phillips Injury: Updates on Reds Star’s Foot and Return

A key piece of the Cincinnati Reds’ roster is battling an injury, as second baseman Brandon Phillips is out of Tuesday’s lineup with an injured foot. 

Continue for updates. 

Phillips Not In Lineup

Tuesday, May 31

Per C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Reds scratched Phillips from Tuesday’s lineup due to a sore left foot. 

Rosecrans also noted that Jordan Pacheco is starting in Phillips’ place. 

At 34 years old, Phillips is no longer the All-Star second baseman from his prime years. He’s still a solid hitter, posting a .294 average in 2015. But he hasn’t had an on-base percentage higher than .328 since 2011, and his slugging percentage has been under .400 in each of the previous three years.

Phillips’ power has returned a little bit through 47 games played this season, as he’s slugging .420 with 16 extra-base hits.  

Despite the decline in his overall performance, Phillips has managed to mostly avoid major physical ailments. He did miss 41 games in 2014 because of a thumb injury but has not played less than 147 games in any other season since 2008. 

The Reds are already thin on talent as they go through a rebuilding phase. They currently have the second-worst record in the National League at 17-34.

Phillips, Joey Votto and Jay Bruce make up the heart of the order. Pacheco has appeared in 30 games for the Reds this season, hitting just .167/.167/.250 in 48 plate appearances. 

A diminished Phillips is still a valuable piece of this Cincinnati roster as presently constructed, both for his effort on the field and his leadership capabilities. 

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Jay Bruce Trade Rumors: Latest News, Speculation on Reds OF

As the weather heats up, so should the trade rumors surrounding Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jay Bruce, a potential unrestricted free agent this winter.

Continue for updates.

Multiple Teams Eyeing Bruce

Monday, May 23 

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported Bruce has been targeted by a “few teams,” including the Kansas City Royals.

The 29-year-old is hitting .270/.327/.518 with eight home runs and 28 runs batted in so far this season. He’s bordering on a pace that would see him touch the 30-home run mark for the first time since 2013.

That Bruce is available via trade should come as no surprise. The Toronto Blue Jays nearly acquired him in February as part of a three-team deal before medical reports halted the trade. It’s unclear which of the players caused the trip-up. Toronto outfielder Michael Saunders was also part of the deal.

The Reds are in the midst of a full-scale rebuild, winning 64 games in 2015 and sitting at 15-29 so far this season.

“It is tough losing. It’s tough to have leads and lose them. It’s also tough when we don’t score and don’t hit very well,” Bruce said, per David Jablonski of the Springfield News-Sun. “The only option is for us to continue to go forward. No one’s going to feel sorry for us. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We just have to do better on both sides of the ball.”

Bruce is one of any number of Cincinnati veterans who could be on the move. Second baseman Brandon Phillips, shortstop Zack Cozart and first baseman Joey Votto could all arguably be more valuable elsewhere.

Bruce is perhaps the easiest to move given his contract situation. The veteran outfielder’s $13 million salary for 2017 carries only $1 million in guarantees. A team in need of some power could use him as a short-term rental before allowing him to hit the open market.

That could be attractive to a small-market club like the Royals, who are tied for 27th in runs scored and 26th in home runs. The defending World Series champs are near the bottom in every major offensive category.

Bruce has been an abysmal defensive outfielder for his entire MLB career, so a move to the American League might help. Becoming a designated hitter might be his best career move over the long term, regardless.

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Bryan Price, Ross Ohlendorf Suspended: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price and pitcher Ross Ohlendorf were each suspended by Major League Baseball on Friday for their actions in Wednesday’s 5-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The league announced Price was fined and suspended for one game, and he will serve the suspension Friday. Ohlendorf received a three-game ban, but he will appeal.

Ohlendorf was ejected Wednesday for hitting Pirates infielder David Freese with a pitch after the benches were warned, and Price was tossed as well.

With Price out Friday against the Philadelphia Phillies, bench coach Jim Riggleman will serve as Cincinnati’s acting manager.

Riggleman has 12 years of managerial experience with the San Diego Padres, Chicago Cubs, Seattle Mariners and Washington Nationals, so the team will be in capable hands.

Ohlendorf will be available Friday since he is appealing the suspension, but the 33-year-old has been largely ineffective thus far in 2016, going 3-4 with a 5.40 ERA.

Even so, Ohlendorf is among the Reds’ top options out of the bullpen behind closer Tony Cingrani, so having him in the fold will be key for the 14-20 Reds as they attempt to get back in the National League playoff race.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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Billy Hamilton Injury: Updates on Reds Star’s Thumb and Return

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton suffered a thumb injury Tuesday and missed Wednesday’s game against the San Francisco Giants. However, he’s ready to return.

Continue for updates.   

Hamilton Active vs. Brewers

Thursday, May 5

The Reds announced Hamilton will be in center field and bat second against Milwaukee on Thursday.

Hamilton Still Shaky Offensive Option Despite Elite Speed

Hamilton has reached a point where his offense needs to show signs of life for the Reds to depend on him as an everyday player. He has gotten off to a slow start in 2016, hitting .215 with one home run, five RBI and five stolen bases. Disappointing numbers will only raise more questions about his ability to be in the lineup 150 times a year. 

The 25-year-old has game-changing speed, as evidenced by his 113 stolen bases from 2014 and 2015, and he’s an outstanding defensive center fielder with 26 career runs saved. By comparison, no other center fielder with at least 2,000 innings played from 2014 to 2015 had more than seven defensive runs saved. 

Hamilton’s problem is wrapped up in the bat—he owns a .241/.271/.354 career slash line—which makes it hard for manager Bryan Price to play him on a consistent basis. He’s fortunate to be on a rebuilding club that can afford to be patient with him, but there’s only so much string left. 


Advanced stats courtesy of FanGraphs.

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Devin Mesoraco Injury: Updates on Reds Catcher’s Shoulder and Return

It’s been a rough few weeks for the Cincinnati Reds, and it’s about to get worse with catcher Devin Mesoraco going on the disabled list.

Continue for updates.

Shoulder Injury Sidelines Mesoraco

Monday, May 2   

The Reds have placed the former All-Star catcher on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Thursday, because of a torn labrum in his left shoulder, the team announced Monday.

Mesoraco played 16 games this year for the Reds but has struggled heavily at the plate, batting .140 and recording only seven base hits.

This isn’t the first time the injury bug has bitten Mesoraco. He appeared in only 23 games last year for the Reds and was out since last June because of hip surgery

Mesoraco was an All-Star in 2014 and ended up batting .273 while hitting 25 home runs. In the two seasons since, the former 15th overall pick in 2007 has appeared in 39 games and batted .158.

This is a tough break for Mesoraco, who was playing his way back from that aforementioned hip surgery. His numbers don’t reflect any progress, and he now has to put his comeback attempt on hold. Mesoraco is still fighting to get back to 100 percent, and dealing with shoulder and hip problems could limit his offense even further than it already has.

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Brandon Phillips Injury: Updates on Reds Star’s Finger and Return

Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips suffered a finger injury and left Monday’s game against the New York Mets after being hit by a Noah Syndergaard pitch. It’s unclear when he will return to the field.

Continue for updates.

Phillips Out vs. Mets

Tuesday, April 26

C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Phillips will not play against the Mets on Tuesday.

Reds Lose Phillips’ Experience in Lineup

Phillips is no longer the offensive force of his prime years, when he emerged as one of baseball’s most dangerous middle infielders due to his combination of power and speed. That said, he’s still a reliable producer for the Reds after vetoing two trades during the offseason in order to stay with the club.

Injuries have become more of a problem over the past couple of seasons. He missed more than a month during the 2014 campaign due to a torn thumb ligament and has dealt with various minor ailments since that point, including sitting out some games earlier this season while dealing with a stomach virus.

If he’s forced to miss more time, Ivan DeJesus Jr. is an experienced option capable of handling the spot on a short-term basis. The versatile Jordan Pacheco could also draw an occasional start at second in the meantime.

Although Phillips’ overall play has dropped off a bit in recent years, losing him would still represent a setback for the Cincinnati offense.


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Zack Cozart Injury: Updates on Reds Shortstop’s Quad and Return

Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart has gotten off to a solid start at the plate, but a leg injury may derail his progress.

Continue for updates.

Cozart Dealing with Quad Tightness

Monday, April 11

Cozart left Monday’s 5-3 loss against the Chicago Cubs in the fourth inning with tightness in his right quad, per Mark Sheldon of MLB.com.

“I’m sore. It’s more of a precaution though,” Cozart said, per Sheldon. “Being a chilly night, I just had some tightness in my quad. I’m going to get some treatment [Tuesday] and come back Wednesday and see how I feel. Hopefully, I feel fine.”

Before leaving the game, Cozart was 1-for-2 at the plate. He has recorded a hit in each game he’s played this year. Coming into Monday, the 30-year-old former second-round pick was batting .400 with one RBI.

The shortstop appeared to suffer the injury in the first inning after hitting a bloop single on a 2-1 pitch. Manager Bryan Price and trainer Steve Baumann then came out to check on him. Cozart tried to play through it before eventually exiting the game in the fourth.

Ivan De Jesus Jr. replaced him in the lineup.

“I think it just has to do with this tightness in my quad. It’s kind of irritating everything on my right side,” Cozart said, per Sheldon. “Since it’s my surgery side, we didn’t want to push it this early in the year.”

De Jesus will likely fill in at shortstop until Cozart is able to return. De Jesus has been a solid presence at the plate for a Reds team that fell one game behind the Cubs after Monday’s loss.

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Homer Bailey Injury: Updates on Reds SP’s Recovery from Tommy John Surgery

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey is continuing his recovery from Tommy John surgery, which he underwent in May 2015.   

Continue for updates.

Bailey Inching Toward Full Recovery

Thursday, March 24

On Thursday, Bailey threw his second live batting practice of spring training, per the Cincinnati Enquirer:

According to C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Bailey simulated two innings on the day. It came just three days after his first live batting practice, where he faced four batters and threw five pitches, per Rosecrans

We still have a few steps to go, but the bright side is, everything felt as expected, which was normal,” Bailey told Rosecrans on Monday. “Other than that, I don’t have much to report.”

No news after his live batting practice on Thursday is good news for Bailey, who is expected to rejoin the Reds’ rotation in May, according to Rosecrans. 

When he’s able to stay on the field, Bailey has proved that he can be a solid middle- to lower-rotation arm in Cincinnati’s rotation with a 58-51 career record.

He even pitched the franchise’s 16th no-hitter back in 2012 and added a second in 2013 against the San Francisco Giants:

The problem has been that he’s had trouble keeping healthy. Before his Tommy John surgery in 2015, Bailey’s 2014 season was cut short due to a forearm injury that also required surgery. 

Cincinnati’s rotation doesn’t host many marquee arms, which could prove troublesome in 2016 and could call for Bailey’s services toward the top of the staff. 

Without the likes of Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake, who departed at the trade deadline last season, the Reds are looking at a pitching staff headlined by Anthony DeSclafani, Alfredo Simon and Raisel Iglesias, three pitchers who put up a combined record of 25-32 last season. 

That could spell disaster in a National League Central division that features the powerful Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com

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Zack Cozart Injury: Updates on Reds Shortstop’s Recovery from Knee Surgery

Zack Cozart is nearly nine months removed from undergoing season-ending knee surgery, and the Cincinnati Reds shortstop is close to returning to full strength in spring training.

Continue for updates.

Latest on Cozart’s Playing Status

Tuesday, March 8

Manager Bryan Price confirmed that Cozart is on track to make his Cactus League debut on Saturday, per C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Price Comments on Cozart’s Timeline for Recovery

Sunday, March 6

Price has an expected date for the shortstop’s first exhibition game but has not revealed it yet, per Mark Sheldon of MLB.com.

“I would say it would be reasonable in the next five or six days, I would think he would be very close,” he said. “I don’t think we’re in jeopardy of him not being ready for Opening Day. But he’s still got to go out there and play, and he’s got to respond well to playing on a regular basis before we can know that for sure.”

Cozart Comments on Recovery

Sunday, March 6

Given the grind and length of spring training, Cozart is fine with taking a cautious approach, per C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

“We always go back that there’s no point in playing on March 4. April 4 is my goal to be 100 percent,” Cozart said. “That’s not to say I won’t be 100 percent playing in games in three, four days. We’ll see. There’s a good progression going.”

Cozart will likely keep the knee brace he’s worn during workouts and batting practice at the start of the regular season, per Sheldon.

Cozart Looking to Improve upon Career Season in ’15

The five-year veteran was on pace for a career year when he suffered ACL and LCL tears in his right knee June 10 against the Philadelphia Phillies, as MLB.com showed:

Cozart was hitting a career-high .258 with nine home runs, 28 RBI and a 2.0 WAR mark. 

Eugenio Suarez filled in for the rest of the season, hitting .280, which was the fourth-best mark on the team. Suarez will likely move to third base when Cozart assumes his role at shortstop.

All indications show that Cozart is healthy and ready to take the field again. Price isn’t a closed book with the media, but he generally keeps injury disclosures close to his chest. Not clarifying a specific return date isn’t a major surprise, and Cozart should get game reps soon.


All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

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