Senzel did not play baseball for two years, the 6th and 7th grade. His dad was transferred to England on a work project. And when the family arrived, it discovered there was no baseball.
"The sport wasn't known," Nick said. "I had my glove with me and took a few balls, but I hardly used them. It was kind of tough to even throw. I missed (baseball), but there was nothing I could do. I was just happy to see other things and try other sports."
At his boarding school, Nick had his choice of soccer, rugby and field hockey, choosing the last two. He doesn't know if he honed any skills he could transfer to baseball, but he was young, and said, "When you're younger, it's not so bad to play other sports. When you get to high school and your career is taking off, you start to narrow it down." (Marc Katz - Reds Report - Aug 2016)
Senzel graduated from Farragut High School in Knoxville, Tennessee. He was all-state his senior year (2013), hitting .386 with 42 RBI, 14 doubles, 5 homers and 4 triples.
Nick was in the 2013 Tennessee high school class that included fellow top prospects Jordan Sheffield and Will Craig. Senzel was teammates with Kyle Serrano at Farragut. Undrafted out of high school in Farragut, Tenn., Senzel has added more power each of his three years in college, and he struck 34 extra-base hits in 57 games this season.
Nick was then off to the University of Tennessee on a baseball scholarship. He majored in psychology. The Vols have produced big league third basemen such as Joe Randa, Chase Headley and Matt Duffy.
During the summer of 2015, Senzel played for Brewster and won Cape Cod League MVP honors after hitting .364/.418/.558. He led the league in hits (56), OPS (.976), RBIs (33) and runs (34) while finishing second in batting.
Senzel says his father, Jeff, was his biggest sports influence.
Nick earns praise for his understanding of the game and his all-around fundamentally sound play.
Nick is the son of Jeff and Janice Senzel and has one sibling, Madison.
At Tennessee, Senzel was the recipient of the J. Milton Stockman Scholarship Fund.
- While at UT, Senzel received numerous All-American awards and a 2016 Golden Spikes award finalist.
June 2016: The Reds chose Nick with their first round pick. As a junior in 2016, he hit .352 and led the Southeastern Conference with 25 doubles. And he stole 25 bases in 29 attempts. He mostly played third base, but he played all around the infield.
Senzel signed with scout Brad Meador for a $6.2 million bonus. Slot value was $7.76 million.
In 2017 and 2018, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook had Senzel as the #1 prospect in the Reds' organization. And he made it to #1 for the third year in a row in 2019.
In 2017, Senzel was at a table during RedsFest with the man with the most hits in the history of Major League Baseball.
“I was talking to Pete Rose—it’s easy for him to say, but he said the easiest level to hit in is the big leagues,” Nick Senzel said. “It’s easy for him to say because he got over a billion hits, but he just said the lights are better, pitchers are better. It’s comforting to hear that from him.”
Nick should have a great future ahead of him, because his pro debut in 2016 couldn't have looked easier. He even displayed surprising power.
“The season was kind of a complete approach,” GM Dick Williams said. “We saw the offense we wanted to see, the defense that we hoped to see. We saw the off-the-field, the leadership and hard work and effort.”
At Dayton he showed his power, first with four doubles in his first three games and later with a total of seven home runs, including a three-game stretch with homers in each game.
“I don’t even think about it,” he said. “I was in an interview with (Jesse) Winker and they were talking to him about his power production, too, it wasn’t as high as they’d like it to be. Who cares? If you’re getting on base, that’s all that matters. That’s how you score runs. Home runs are cool and everything. I don’t think it matters, as long as you’re getting on base and scoring runs.” (C. Trent Rosencrans - Baseball America - 2/10/2017)
In 2017, Nick represented the Reds in the All-Star Futures game.
October 2017: Senzel was named the Reds Prospect of the Year by MLBPipeline.com.
Nov 10, 2017: The Reds' No. 1 prospect, Nick Senzel, will need to purchase some new gloves for some different positions in 2018. Senzel was drafted second overall in 2016 as a third baseman, and he has seen time solely at the hot corner amid his express lane through the system. When Senzel arrives at his first big league Spring Training in 2018, he will be given looks at multiple spots.
"I think he's got the talent to play a couple of different positions, and we're going to let him do that," said Reds GM Dick Williams.
"This is a guy that played shortstop in college [at Tennessee], played third base in college, played second base as an amateur," Williams said of Senzel. "We think he's clearly athletic enough to go to left field or right field. He's got the bat to do it."
Williams likened Senzel's potential trajectory to former Reds All-Star third baseman Todd Frazier. When he was taken 34th overall in 2007, Frazier was a shortstop. As a prospect, and during his early days in the big leagues, Todd played numerous positions—third base, first base, second base and left field.
"We knew he was going to be able to hit in the big leagues," Williams said of Frazier. "When Todd came up, we thought maybe the opportunity would be in left field, maybe third base, maybe shortstop. He had the ability to play multiple positions, and we played him that way. There's no reason why you wouldn't get [Senzel] some time at different positions."
It's often said in the Majors that if a player can hit, teams will somehow find a place for him in the lineup to play. In the short term at least, the club can kick the can down the road a little and find a spot when for Senzel when they have to. Trading him elsewhere is definitely not one of the solutions, but having him be versatile in the field certain is one.
"We see him as a guy we really want to keep," Williams said. "We see him as an important part of our lineup and team in the future. I think he's valuable enough and talented enough that depending on our situation, when and if he's ready, we have flexibility with him." (M Sheldon - MLB.com - Nov. 2017)
Nick is more than just an excellent player."He's a pro's pro," Reds senior director of player development Jeff Graupe says. "He goes about it the right way, and he does everything you'd want to model a young kid to go in his progression to the big leagues. Very process-driven, very organized with his thoughts, understands where he wants to go. His tireless work ethic will allow him to get there."
Feb 7, 2018: Perhaps not since Cuban flamethrower Aroldis Chapman in 2010, or outfielder Jay Bruce before that, have the Reds had someone with no Major League experience who will be as intriguing as top prospect Nick Senzel. Senzel will be wearing No. 79 and is a non-roster invite to big league Spring Training for the first time. His chances of breaking camp with the team aren't great, but there should be buzz surrounding his every development.
First, everyone watching Senzel will want to see if he's ready for the big leagues. And if the 22-year-old third baseman is ready, where will he play?
"There are a couple of different opportunities at different positions," Senzel said. "I'm excited to get out there, be with some of the big league guys, and kind of pick their brains and play some games and being in the lineup. It should be fun."
Ranked by MLB Pipeline as Cincinnati's No. 1 prospect and No. 7 overall in baseball, Senzel batted .321/.391/.514 with 14 home runs and 65 RBIs in 119 games during 2017 with Class A Advanced Daytona and Double-A Pensacola. Expectations are that Senzel will open the regular season at Triple-A Louisville, but of course, he will be aiming higher.
Senzel has been on the fast track since the Reds made him the second overall pick in 2016. His advanced plate approach, skills and maturity have helped him move quickly.
To expand their options, the Reds will have Senzel try other positions in camp. Senzel has only played third base professionally but has amateur experience at shortstop and second base. The organization believes he's athletic enough to handle either spot. He will also get his first exposure to the outfield in the corner positions.
At some point, Senzel will have to force the Reds to find him a place to play. In the meantime, Reds GM Dick Williams has tempered some of the high expectations.
"We know a lot about him and what we've got in this player. We're very optimistic," Williams said. "We think he should sit back and use this as an opportunity to soak up and enjoy learning from the Major League players. That's how we've talked to him about approaching it.
"As far as positions, we've got one of the best young third baseman in the Minor Leagues. We think he can play other positions. We're not in a hurry to move him around the diamond. This is a great time to expose him to other opportunities and make sure he's getting instruction around the infield." (M Sheldon - MLB.com - Feb 7, 2018)
“Nick’s tough,” Reds manager David Bell said in Spring Training 2019. “He has a good edge about him. And he’s really done everything he can to show he has the ability to play center field. It’s going to take a lot of work, and it’s not easy. But for us, as we try to evaluate him, we think he can do it. And that’s a good place to be.” (Castrovince - mlb.com - 3/17/19)
- May 3, 2019: Nick thought he would know what his first Major League at-bat would feel like. Then the reality exceeded his expectations once the crowd of 23,478 fans at Great American Ball Park erupted with cheers as his name was announced.
“I dreamed about it but it was nothing like that,” Senzel said. “It was pretty surreal walking up to the plate, hearing my name and how the crowd reacted was really special to me because I know they’ve supported me since I got drafted. Just to come this far, and for the city of Cincinnati having my back like this, it was really emotional and really special.”
The experience didn’t end with the expected happy finish, however, as the Reds were handed a 12-11 loss in 11 innings by the Giants after having an 8-0 lead through three innings. Evan Longoria’s leadoff homer in the top of the 11th against reliever Jared Hughes was the difference. Senzel wound up having a busy night while going 1-for-4 with an infield single, two walks, a run scored and nice catch on defense.
“It’s a big night for him, to get your first hit. I thought he made some good plays in the outfield. He athleticism and speed showed up tonight. More than anything, a special night,” Reds manager David Bell said. “I thought there was a good energy in the ballpark tonight. It would have been a great game to win.”
In that first time up, Senzel acquitted himself nicely against Giants starter Tyler Beede. Following two fastballs for an 0-2 count, he took three straight pitches for balls and then fouled the next two off. On the eighth pitch he saw from Beede, he flied to center field where Kevin Pillar made a slick sliding catch.
In the bottom of the ninth, after the Giants came all the way back to make it an 11-11 game, Senzel had a runner on first base when he squibbed a Tony Watson pitch slowly in the grass to third base. Longoria made no attempt to throw and Senzel had his first big league hit.
“I’ll take it,” Senzel said. “It was just good being out there. I was happy with some of the at-bats I had, especially battling back, seeing a lot of pitches and drawing a lot of walks. I was fairly happy with most of my at-bats.”
Defensively, Senzel was also tested. In the top half of the sixth, he made a nice running catch in center field for his first career putout, which went as a sacrifice fly for Steven Duggar.
“It was good to get some reads,” Senzel said. “We have all the information [on cards] in our back pockets. When pitchers execute and we have to go get one, it’s good to get out running and get a couple of those out of the way.”
The No. 1 prospect in the organization and No. 5 in baseball according to MLB Pipeline, the past year was trying for Senzel. He was limited to 44 games in 2018 with Triple-A Louisville because of injuries.
First, he missed most of May dealing with vertigo—a condition from which he is now free from symptoms. Then Senzel had season-ending surgery to repair a fractured right index finger at the end of June. In the fall while working out in the outfield during instructional league, he needed another surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow. On March 25 in Arizona, three days after being optioned to Louisville, he sprained his right ankle.
“There’s so many memories, and it feels like such a long journey with the injuries and everything. It was such an emotional moment for me and my family after the game, a dream became a reality,” Senzel said before the game. “It just made it worth it. It was hard for me to explain that moment in time. Just knowing I’m here, in the lineup and an actual Red, has made it all worth it.”
May 2019: The Reds’ offense ranks last in the Major Leagues with a .210 team batting average. Cincinnati has sorely missed the contributions of Scooter Gennett; while other key players like Joey Votto, Yasiel Puig and Scott Schebler have yet to get going at the plate. Schebler, who won the starting center-field job over Senzel in camp, will now make way for the rookie who learned the position during Spring Training after previously only playing in the infield.
Senzel could pick up some of that slack, but the club isn’t putting it all on him.
“This is team that doesn’t need a savior. It could use a jolt,” said Dick Williams, Reds president of baseball operations. “We have really good offense. There are a bunch of guys on this team that will make it happen. Nick’s going to slide right in there, play good defense in center, swing the bat.”
Senzel is considered athletic and with good instincts, so the Reds felt comfortable having him try center field. Before his injuries, he was blocked at his two most natural positions—second base by Gennett and third base by Eugenio Suarez. Senzel would have been ready for a callup last season, but injuries got in the way.
When mainstay center fielder Billy Hamilton was non-tendered in the offseason, Senzel immediately set out to win the job knowing it was his best path to the big leagues. His injection of energy is welcomed.
“We want to help that outfield defense a little bit. We want to help the offense. We think Nick is ready to do that,” Williams said. “He put in some good work in Spring Training and the Minor Leagues. We would have liked him to get as much experience out there as he could in center field, but we think he was progressing quickly. Then with the situation here, it created a little more urgency to get him here. So we got a little more aggressive with his promotion.” (M Sheldon - MLB.com - May 4, 2019)
July 26, 2019: There was some relief for Reds center fielder Nick Senzel after he learned that the dizziness that forced him out of the game at Milwaukee wasn’t a return of vertigo symptoms. Apparently, Senzel was having a reaction to allergies.
“I feel a lot better than I did in Milwaukee,” Senzel said before the Reds’ 12-2 loss to the Rockies. “They think I grew up with some bad allergies and that in certain places my allergies triggers that [dizziness].”
Senzel, 23, has experienced issues with vertigo twice before—including a stretch last season where he missed a month for Triple-A Louisville. Vertigo is an inner-ear condition that can cause a loss of balance and dizzy spells.
“Was what happened the other day vertigo? No,” Senzel said. “But I think in the past having it, there’s a big mental hurdle you have to get over. It’s hard to describe. You just don’t feel like yourself. We’ve done every test. I’ve done everything rehab-wise to make sure that’s fine. Now I’ve got some allergy medication and feel a lot better.”
Senzel was also wearing glasses with blue-light lenses but didn’t plan on using them during games.
“I’m just going to start wearing these so my eyes don’t get strained,” Senzel said. “I’m just wearing them, trying them out. Nothing really to look into.”
Senzel has dealt with some nagging injuries this 2019 season, including being hit in the eye by a foul ball off the dirt, spraining his right ankle during a crash into the wall, dealing with a tight hamstring, and he once left a game with a migraine headache.
Reds manager David Bell felt that Senzel was ready to play but decided to start Jesse Winker in center field.
“It gives us one day to allow him to go out into the heat and move around, just to be sure, so he doesn't have to think about it more than anything,” Bell said.
Senzel noticed some backlash on social media that left him stung. “I don’t think it’s fair to me. I don’t think it’s fair to my teammates. I come out here and play as hard as anyone on the field. I want to win. I never don’t want to play,” Senzel said. “It kind of hurts my feelings a little bit. I want to play every single day here. That’s my job to get ready to go every day. When things like this happen, I don’t think people realize how tough it is. Those people don’t matter. The guys in this clubhouse matter, my family and friends. That’s it.” (M Sheldon - MLB.com - July 26, 2019)
2019 Season: One of the most anticipated prospect callups for the Reds in several years, Nick Senzel's rookie season did not disappoint. But there was also a sense that it could have, or perhaps should have, been better. Despite a good Spring Training, during which he learned how to play center field after being a lifetime infielder, Senzel was sent down because the club chose Scott Schebler to play the position. A sprained right ankle in a Minor League scrimmage late in camp also delayed the start of Senzel’s 2019 campaign.
Senzel, 24, batted .256/.315/.427 with 12 home runs and 42 RBIs in 104 games this season after his May 3 promotion from Triple-A Louisville. He often batted from the leadoff spot, with 62 starts as the first batter.“I thought there were a lot of learning moments,” Senzel said on Sept. 21. “There was some adversity to the season, obviously, as a team and as an individual. It wasn’t up to my standard, not even close. But I thought I showed some signs of good things.”
What went right?
A whole lot. Although a younger player, Senzel appeared to have an advanced approach to the game, both on the field and behind the scenes in the clubhouse, where he wasn’t afraid to let his voice be heard. He already knew how to take productive at-bats while working counts and looking for his pitches.
Perhaps the most surprising part of Senzel’s first big league season was how natural he looked in center field as he made the transition to a new position. While not above average defensively, he also wasn't a liability in the outfield. He was usually fundamentally sound with his routes and cut-off throws.
“He’s done really well this year for his first year in center field. Much better than we probably should have expected. He’s been really good,” Reds manager David Bell said.
What went wrong?
During the second half, while working with then-hitting coach Turner Ward and assistant hitting coach Donnie Ecker, Senzel overhauled his hitting approach even though he was producing. He switched to an open stance, stood taller and added a leg kick as he started his swing. It helped him see the ball better, but it hurt his numbers in a big way.
Senzel was batting a season-high .285 on Aug. 2 before he made the changes. He batted .188/.242/.313 over his final 34 games before his season ended with a labrum tear in his right shoulder that required surgery. “I tried to make an adjustment in August. You look at it stats-wise, it doesn’t reflect,” he said. “I feel like I contributed to the club. It’s one of those things on paper. It was a learning experience. I can’t wait to rehab, to get back out there and be ready to go.”
Between the ankle injury before the start of the season and the shoulder injury that ended it, Senzel was banged up too often. He fouled a ball on top of his right eye and sprained his right ankle a second time. There were also migraine headaches and allergies that caused him to miss some time. All of that came after he was limited to 44 games in 2018 with Triple-A Louisville because of vertigo and a fractured right index finger.
In a 10-2 Reds victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 26, Senzel reached safely four times with three hits and a walk, scoring four runs. He also recorded his first big league outfield assist that saved a run. Statcast data showed that the throw to the plate topped out at 96 mph. (Mark Sheldon - MLB.com - Nov. 5, 2019)
2020 Season: Senzel and the playing field continued to have an estranged relationship.
I’m not one to believe in curses, but Nick Senzel‘s inability to avoid the injured list is testing my belief system. There’s absolutely no evidence to suggest Senzel is not doing everything possible to be on the field. Every injury he’s suffered, no matter how freakish, has been legitimate. However, with Senzel entering his third season in 2021, the Cincinnati Reds still don’t know exactly what kind of player they have.
Unfortunately, 2020 presented more challenges for the University of Tennessee alum. Senzel was placed on the injured list on August 19 due to an illness and did not return to the active roster until nearly a month later. For Nick, the trip to the IL could not have come at a more inopportune time.
At the time of his illness, Senzel was slashing .244/.327/.489 with two home runs in 14 games. In the second-to-last game he played before going to the IL, Senzel went 3-for-4 with a homer and 4 RBIs in a Reds 9-6 loss to the Pirates. As Senzel’s luck would have it, that game would be the highlight of his year.
After returning to the active roster on September 14, Senzel played in nine games making six starts and was nowhere close to being the player he was before landing on the IL. He collected just two hits in 25 at-bats to close the regular season without drawing a walk.
As a result, his numbers were dramatically impacted by his slump to finish the 2020 campaign. Playing in only 23 games, Senzel slashed just .186/.247/.357 and compiled a -0.1 fWAR. Needless to say, these are not the type of numbers Senzel or the Reds were expecting to see.
Nick Senzel remains an enigma for the Reds. Entering 2021, the Reds would be foolish to count on any type of production from him.
Additionally, Senzel is no longer the prized prospect he once was within the organization. His inability to remain on the field has greatly reduced his trade value. (Scott Boyken - Oct. 19, 2020) (Editor's note: In 2021, Senzel had only 111 at-bats for the Reds and a -0.4 WAR.)
|Home:||N/A||Team:||REDS - IL|
|Birth City:||Atlanta, GA|
|Draft:||Reds #1 - 2016 - Out of Univ. of Tennessee|
Senzel has strong, quick hands and a smooth, simple, compact righthanded swing. He has good raw power, but it plays more as doubles power in games now. Still, he drives the ball to all fields and should produce more home runs in the future. He has an excellent approach at the plate, displays above-average pitch selection, and makes a lot of contact. Nick's Scouting Grades: a 60 for his hitting tool, and a 60 for his power.
He has a mature approach and a swing geared for line drives. He consistently makes hard contact with shot to the opposite field, or to his pull-side. Many of his doubles will one day be home runs, especially as he adds loft to his stroke. He has a strong lower half and knows how to incorporate it in his swing. He stays exceptionally balanced in his swing and has excellent pitch recognition, laying off tough breaking balls out of the zone while catching up with hard heat. He constantly barrels the ball.
Nick combines strength and above-average bat speed from the right side. His patient, all-fields approach should help him hit for average and power. His biggest vulnerability in his pro career has been when pitchers bust him up and in with fastballs, though he will yank the occasional inside pitch.
Nick has a no-load swing with tremendous hand acceleration, so he still makes hard contact despite being exceptionally short to the ball. He has productive power, average-or-a-bit better, but he is more comfortable lining the ball from gap to gap.
Senzel has quick hands and a disciplined knowledge of the strike zone. A plus hitter, Senzel stays balanced with ease and stays short to the ball, allowing him to get the barrel on pitches in all areas of the strike zone. (Spring, 2019)
Senzel has electric bat speed, a patient approach. He is quiet at the plate, not having much movement prior to the pitch.
Nick's best tool is his righthanded bat. He has a compact swing, plus bat speed and exceptional strike zone awareness. He controls the inside part of the strike zone, routinely squares up quality breaking balls and hits line drives with authority to all fields. He’s a special hitter.
“I just hit the ball hard, hit the ball where it’s pitched,” Senzel said. “If they pitch around me, so be it, but I just hit it where it’s pitched and be patient, and when I get my pitch, make sure I drive it.”
Senzel’s feet start slightly open and he closes off as his front foot lands, and as a result he can sometimes struggle against pitches down and away. He makes up for that lone weakness with a very advanced feel for hitting. He knows what kind of hitter he is and he knows what kinds of pitches he can drive, but he also knows which pitches he has no business swinging at, and he’s more than happy to reach first via walk.
Senzel’s swing is built more for contact and line drives, though his bat speed and the way the ball comes off his bat indicate a future of power production. (Hudson Belinsky - Baseballl America - 3/25/2016)
Senzel has a handsy swing and aggressive approach, combined with strength and pitch recognition that allows him to make consistent hard contact. He is developing above-average home run power. (Spring, 2018)
- 2018 Season: A bout of vertigo ended Nick's 2017 season and then reoccurred early in the 2018 season. Then he suffered a season-ending finger injury at Triple-A Louisville in late June.
Despite a slow start in his first run through the International League, Senzel still hit .310/.378/.509 with 6 home runs in 46 games. He had hits in 19 of his last 20 games of the season, including multiple hits in 10 of those games.
- As of the start of the 2021 season, Nick's career Major League stats were: .245 batting average, 14 home runs and 109 hits, with 50 RBI in 445 at-bats.
Nick developed into a good center fielder very quickly.
"I picked up center better than I picked up short,” Senzel said. “It made me feel a little more comfortable—(because I can) just go be athletic and go out there and try to use my speed and first step and track down balls.
“Very confident,” he said. “I have put in a lot of work. I’m continuing to get better every day. I think the more I get in games, the more comfortable I will be.”
Senzel showed he can be at least an above-average defensive second baseman. Senzel tried both outfield spots at instructional league. His athleticism and understanding of the game should help him grow to be a solid defender at multiple positions.
Senzel could pursue second base, center field or left field in the big leagues. (Spring, 2019)
Defensively, Senzel offers versatility. In 2018, he played third base, second base and first base. Scouts aren’t settled on where he fits best, with some seeing him as a capable third baseman, others liking him as an offensive second baseman.
But Nick has worked hard to develop into an above-average defender at third base who even held his own in a stint at shortstop with the Univ. of Tennessee. Senzel has above-average short-range quickness thanks to quick hips. His hands are average. He gets a 60 grade for fielding. He could still improve his agility and lateral range.
Defensively, his best asset is his plus arm (60 grade). His throws have plenty of carry, but they are even more notable for accuracy. He can throw from a variety of arm angles and doesn’t need to set his feet to uncork an accurate throw. (Spring, 2018)
Nick's defensive gifts are almost on the same level as his bat speed, especially now that he's at third base He looks natural on defense.
While his actions aren’t silky smooth and his hands can be a little rough, Senzel has made a statement with his defensive play.
He exhibits a quick first step, quick reactions, impressive range to his left and his right, the ability to barehand ground balls hit up the line and average arm strength from a relatively compact arm action.
While Senzel is unlikely to develop into a plus defender, he's becoming a 50 grade 3rd baseman, big league average on the 20-80 scouting scale.
Dec 2, 2017: Senzel isn't waiting until his first big league Spring Training to learn the new positions he's already been told he'll play. He is spending time at home in Knoxville and college alma mater, Tennessee, getting prepared. Senzel, a third baseman, will get chances at second base and shortstop along with both corner-outfield spots. Although he's played the other infield positions in either high school or college, he's never played in the outfield.
"I've already started to try and get an early head start on it," Senzel said during Redsfest. "It feels good. I'm trying to learn the basic stuff right now."
Ranked No. 1 in the organization by MLBPipeline.com, the 22-year-old Senzel is also listed as the eighth-best prospect in baseball. Currently, Cincinnati is happy with the performance of Eugenio Suarez at third base. The club believes Senzel is athletic enough to play other places on the field.
"When opportunities and challenges present themselves, especially on the baseball field, they're exciting," Senzel said. "It's some different positions I've never played before, especially left and right field. It could create some opportunity for me. I'm just going to go out there and try to get some guidance from people who know what they're talking about and play it to the best of my ability." (M Sheldon - MLB.com - Dec 2, 2017)
Senzel is faster and more athletic than most players at the hot corner, where his hands and strong arm are also assets.
In 2017, Senzel was named as the best defensive third baseman in Minor League Baseball by MLB Pipeline.
October 2018: Nick played left field and center field in the Instructional League.
“He really looked good,” Reds' vice president of player development Shawn Pender said. “It’s not a surprise. He’s a very good baseball athlete. He’s got a very good baseball IQ. I don’t think there’s a position on the field he couldn’t play. Yeah, he took to the outfield really well.”
Nick is an average runner, with good instincts on the base-paths and the ability to steal 10 or 15 bases a season.
He gets a 55 grade for his running, because he's such a heady runner. He will turn singles into doubles. He reads how the outfielder plays the ball and recognizes when he get another base.
May 2020: According to Statcast, Senzel had a sprint speed of 29.4 ft/sec during his rookie year, just ahead of teammate Michael Lorenzen’s 28.7. From home to first base, Senzel averages at 4.19 seconds and edges out Lorenzen’s 4.25 seconds. Senzel, who shared the team lead in steals with 14 last season, benefits from a larger sample size than Lorenzen, but also showed his tool in the outfield for the first time in his playing career after he switched from the infield after the 2018 season. –Mark Sheldon
September 2. 2017: Senzel was on the DL near the end of the season with a bout of vertigo.
May 10, 2018: Nick was placed on the 7-day disabled list by Triple-A Louisville as the infielder is being treated for vertigo.
June 26, 2018: Senzel will underwent surgery to reduce a fracture in his right index finger. There was no damage to the tendon in that finger. The surgery was performed in New York by Dr. Thomas Graham. Senzel suffered the injury in a game with Triple-A Louisville.
Oct 11, 2018: A chance for Nick to try his newly mined skills as an outfielder in the Arizona Fall League was scrapped when it was learned that the Reds top prospect needs left elbow surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow. Senzel, the Reds' No. 1 prospect and No. 6 overall, will have his operation performed by team medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek and is expected to need six weeks to recover. The 23-year-old had been learning to play the outfield in Arizona during Instructional League.
"It's just a couple of bone spurs. Now is the time to do it because it won't impact any of his offseason work," Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams said. "It's six weeks of no activity with that elbow and then he'll have a normal offseason progression. We wanted him to go through the instructs to get outfield instruction and get the experience out there. But we didn't want to push it any further than that. It was something that was nagging."
An MRI exam confirmed the bone spurs, and the surgery is considered minor.
March 6, 2019: Senzel was out of the lineup again. Manager David Bell revealed that Senzel is dealing with a tight left hamstring.
“It’s almost to be expected a little bit, just the different kind of running in the outfield—something he’s never done,” Bell said of the hamstring issue. “Probably we’re being a little extra cautious. He’s going to be fine.”
March 25, 2019: Senzel left a Minor League game after suffering an ankle injury. MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reported that X-rays were negative with an MRI scheduled.
March 26, 2019: Nick was diagnosed with a right ankle sprain. He is expected to use a walking boot for one to two weeks, and he will require several more weeks of precautionary measures to ensure he’s set to run.
Sept. 13-end of 2019 season: Senzel has a partial tear of the labrum in his right shoulder and will miss the remainder of the season. He needed surgery to repair the shoulder.
Feb 21, 2020: Senzel, 24, is back preparing himself to be the Reds center fielder after a winter full of rehab from right shoulder surgery, There is hope, but not a guarantee, that Senzel can be ready for Opening Day. He has been taking batting practice without issue, but is on a modified throwing program that will keep him out of early Cactus League games.
March 20, 2020: Senzel had already played four games as DH, but none in the outfield, as he was already in the final stages of his rehab from surgery he had in September to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
“With Nick, he's currently completing his rehab exercises every day, he has everything he needs at home,” Bell said. “He'll ease into his throwing program next week.”
May 18, 2020: "Senzel has benefitted from the extra down time and has been making excellent progress," Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams said. “We are planning on full go when the season opens.”
July 9, 2020: Senzel injured his elbow during the scrimmage while taking a swing. He’s dealing with a hyperextended left elbow. The team is viewing Senzel as day to day.
Aug 19-Sept 14, 2020: Nick was on the IL.
April 1, 2021: Senzel made a nice diving catch in the top of the fourth inning. But the play was costly as Senzel exited Cincinnati's 11-6 loss because of a left shoulder injury.
“It was significant enough to come out of the game, but we probably won’t have the full knowledge of what to expect,” Reds manager David Bell said of Senzel's injury. “I do think, indications right now, he’s going to be OK. We’ll just have to see how many days it will be. Hopefully we’ll have him back shortly.”
May 13, 2021: Senzel departed the 13-8 loss to the Rockies early with a left heel contusion.
"Nick is day to day," manager Bell said.
May 21, 2021: Nick went on the IL with left foot sprain.
May 21-Aug 15, 2021: The Reds announced that Senzel would undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. The surgery is expected to clean up meniscus tissue in his left knee and assess any further damage.
“Once they go in and they know the extent of it, we'll have a better idea of that,” said Bell of Senzel's timeline to return to action. “From all indications, it's nothing too serious, more of a cleanup. We fully expect to have him back with a big part of the season remaining.”
April 16-18, 2022: Nick was on the IL. Senzel hasn’t been feeling well, manager David Bell said, and the Reds placed him on the one-day COVID injured list.
“He has not been diagnosed with COVID, but we’re allowed to put him on until we make sure of that,” Bell said.
May 4-23, 2022: Nick was on the IL.
- Sept 21, 2022: Nick was on the IL with fractured left toe. Senzel was hurt crashing into the wall trying to make a catch in the 5-3 loss to the Red Sox.