The Reds lost to the Cardinals 3-2 on Thursday evening, and are now 22-38 on the season. That was far from the biggest story on this night for the Reds. The Reds had the #2 overall pick in the MLB Draft, their highest pick since 1983. The Reds drafted 3B/INF Nick Senzel out of the University of Tennessee. Senzel is a polished college hitter, who could reach the big leagues soon.

For the current MLB team, Brandon Finnegan showed why he was a first round draft pick back in 2014. Finnegan retired 12 straight batters at one point on Thursday evening, and continued his solid 2016 campaign in the Reds rotation. The Reds bullpen would end up losing the game. The Reds bullpen has now accounted for 16 of the Reds 38 losses in 2016.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (22-38) 2 4 0
St. Louis Cardinals (32-28) 3 7 0
W: Oh (2-0) L: Ohlendorf (4-5) S: Rosenthal (11)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score | Game Thread

Biggest Play of the Game

According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (winning percentage added), the most important play of the game was Ross Ohlendorf allowing a RBI single to Yadier Molina with 1 out in the 8th inning, giving the Cardinals a 3-2 lead That play decreased the Reds chances of winning by 15.7% (from 31.9% to 16.1%).

Player of the Game

Brandon Finnegan: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1.55 FIP

I was a little bit concerned about Finnegan’s K/BB rate over his past three starts (20.2 IP, 11 BB, 8 K). Tonight, Finnegan was as sharp as ever, striking out 7 batters while allowing just 1 walk. Finnegan dominated a really good Cardinals offense tonight, one that entered play today with the second best OPS in baseball (.800). Finnegan lowered his ERA to 3.77, and his FIP to 4.89.

Positives

Adam Duvall ripped an RBI single in the first inning. Duvall now has a 7-game hitting streak.

Joey Votto reached base twice. He had to earn it the second time, as he was drilled by Adam Wainwright.

Negatives

Ross Ohlendorf loaded the bases in the 8th inning, and eventually the Cardinals were able to scratch across the winning run. Ole’ Ross now has a 4.39 ERA on the season…..yet that doesn’t seem all that bad.

The Reds offense collected just 4 hits.

Reds #2 draft pick

Senzel

The Reds drafted 3B/INF Nick Senzel from the University of Tennessee with the #2 overall pick in the MLB Draft. Senzel hit .352/.456/.595 with 8 HR in his junior season with the Vols. Reports are that Senzel is a very polished college player, who hits for average and power. Senzel is a very good defensive third baseman, who has also played second base. Senzel also has good speed, as he stole 25 bases this season for Tennessee.

Peter Gammons was asked during the MLB Network draft broadcast who he thought would be the fastest player to reach the MLB, and Gammons said Senzel. We’ve recently seen college hitters such as Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber from the Cubs reach the big leagues within two seasons. It wouldn’t be crazy to see Senzel reach the big leagues by 2018.

Links on Senzel:

University of Tennessee Bio

Fangraphs player profile

Cincinnati Enquirer’s C. Trent Rosecrans on Senzel

Red Reporter player profile

NOTE: The Reds also have the #35 and #43 picks this evening.

Up Next:

Anthony DeSclafani will make his 2016 debut for the Reds tomorrow night. He will have a tough task, as he will be facing the A’s star pitcher Sonny Gray.

Athletics at Reds
Friday, 7:10
TV: FOX Sports Ohio
Anthony DeSclafani (5.54 ERA at AAA) vs Sonny Gray (5.77 ERA)

Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.

Join the conversation! 90 Comments

  1. Another good start by a young pitcher.Future is bright pitching wise for this team.

    • Yeah, Finnegan looked really good. I was way back in CF but seemed like he had good movement.

  2. Like the first 2 picks, hitters

    • Yep, two picks and no hint of a pitcher. Wonder if a different person (i.e. Dick Williams) is making the final thumbs up/down call on these picks tonight.

      • Looks like they simply drafted best available twice in a row.

      • Not a fan of passing on both Wentz and Muller, and that’s even knowing we could use some hitting. Maybe in 5 years the Reds look smart, but right now, the Braves do.

      • At least they didn’t reach for a near-MLB ready, low ceiling finesse pitcher or something (think Mike Leake).

        • Right. The last thing we need is some pitcher who wins 60 games in the next 6 years/

        • Muta, Leake took years to become an average pitcher. He is now solidly average SP, with streaks of very good, with similarly long streaks of mediocre. I don’t mean to say Leake doesn’t have value, he most certainly does, but in the draft, the last thing a first or second round pick should be is “serviceable” or “SP4/SP5 if they progress to ceiling”. That is my point.

          Wins mean absolutely nothing. It’s dependent on offense, bullpen, manager usage of pitcher, etc. A 20 win pitcher on one team might be an 8 win pitcher on another.

          I want upside, ACE, SP1, not SP3/SP4 innings eater in the first or second rounds, those can be found MUCH later.

      • Both WJ and Williams have talked about the Reds’ need for young position players.

    • Anybody else concerned that Boras is Senzel’s agent?

      • Maybe for his free agency in 2025 or whenever, but I’ve seen several folks say they think Senzel won’t have any signability issues. Hopefully they are right!

  3. Reds pick Taylor Trammell, an OF out of high school, for the 35th pick. He was a former two-sport athlete and is committed to Georgia Tech for baseball, but MLB.com says he’s likely to not go to college.

  4. The Braves are kicking tail again. Why the Reds passed on both those high upside lefty pitchers is BEYOND me. I know there is a call for hitters, but man, Braves got big time value, we didn’t. Maybe they aren’t both signable? Oh well. The Reds throughout their history hate drafting LHP…the Braves love them. The Braves need bats too, but you just can’t pass on potential Ace lefties. The Braves nailed most of their trades the past two years too, again, unlike the Reds (save for Cueto deal).

    I hope that OF pans out, but sounds like a “toolsy” player, you know, high risk, high reward project type.

    The Catcher from Clemson, I know little about him, so I will withhold a comment, but passing on Muller and Wentz for those two seems a bit much to me.

    • Wentz has high bonus demands which would limit our ability to maximize our bonus pool. Its the reason that a player rated by most in the high teens fell to the second round. The Braves “reached” with the 3rd overall pick, already have a contact in place for below slot value, which might give them a money to meet Wentz demands while only risking the loss of the lower slot bonus.

      • This is true. I get we can’t draft them all. I just cringe when LHP, universally rated much higher than the draft spot, are passed. I get Trammell has good value too, he was rated about where the Reds drafted him, so hardly a reach. Maybe he becomes an above-average starting OF, and maybe those two Braves pitchers are stuck in AA with 5.00 ERAs five years from now. It is a crapshoot when choosing between any given 15 prospects. A box of chocolates to the Gump in me I suppose.

        • Or maybe they both have Tommy John in 3 years. I’d say Senzel’s chances of having his development slowed by injury is way lower than the risk of these HS flamethrowers suffering multiple setbacks.

    • I suppose the definition of kicking tail has been watered down a bit. They drafted 2 guys that might play for them someday….and could possibly be good.

    • How is it only the Cueto Deal was good? We got a great deal in the Latos deal, a steal in the Simon deal and not bad return for Leake. Exactly what was wrong with those other trades?

    • I think you may be being a little too hard on the Reds here. First off, there is always risk in drafting pitchers (particularly HS pitchers). Muller and especially Wentz, although high ceiling, carry a certain amount of risk. Also, I’m not sure why you said the Reds haven’t liked drafting LHP. I can think of two that the Reds have drafted with early picks: Ty Howington, and Jeremy Sowers. Granted, that was 1999 and 2001 but Howington didn’t make the Majors at all and Sowers was never very good. They picked Travis Wood in the 2nd round in 2005. They took Cingrani in the 3rd in 2011 and Joseph in the 3rd in 2009. I haven’t gone back further than that.

      • And it’s not like they don’t have Finnegan, Reed, and Garrett looking to be on the cusp of MLB success and can’t afford to draft lower position mid ceiling/ high floor types and take the time to develop them.

  5. Senzel is who I wanted! Hope Scott Boras doesn’t clean the Reds out getting him signed? A small market team with a $25 mil player like Votto needs to surround him with as much talent as they can while he’s still got some good years left!

    • +1. Was happy to hear Senzel’s name.

    • I was not on board with Senzel or Puk originally, due to lack of upside and lack of production/back issues, respectively. That said, Senzel did show all-around ability, especially in the K/BB department (more BB than K) and solid doubles power. Assuming he hits the weights just a bit over the coming few seasons, he could become an all-star type hitter. Can’t beat that.

      I still can’t get over the production of Kyle Lewis (almost .800 slugging in an era when college bats have been nerfed big time); however, he is much less polished in that he has a higher K rate and a big leg kick that I cringe at. It works for some, but most high kick hitters end up struggling with averages down the road (swing n miss more often).

      I wouldn’t have been against Pint or Groome or even that Anderson kid the Braves got, but in the end, a “wait 5 years” HS pitcher is too much of a gamble I think. That’s five or six years to allow for some injuries. If the Reds were AGGRESSIVE in promoting and not afraid to have a 20 year old in MLB rotation, I’d be more inclined to take the top rated HS arm, but we dawdle and suppress to the point they all lose confidence and fade away.

      After further reading, I am very happy with the Senzel pick. I don’t worry about Boras because the Reds can’t be so stupid as to draft a Boras client and then get cheap on negotiations. Right?

      • MIchael, I’m in the same spot on Kyle Lewis. I really loved that production, but ultimately a 16% K rate against subpar competition made me happy the Reds took Senzel instead.

    • I wanted him too. I hope the Reds hit on a winner!

  6. Happy to grab Senzel. Surprised Lewis fell to 11th.

    • No respect for Mercer and the Southern Conference

    • My thoughts exactly.

    • Mercer plays many top college teams every year, so at least a dozen games are against the big time teams (1/5 of the games they play). Baseball, small college means MUCH less than basketball or football.

      Lewis is the real deal, but as I noted, he does K more than Senzel and has that leg kick (of which I am not a big fan, but it works for some). I wouldn’t have been against Lewis, with that size and production, he should become a good MLB player, provided his K rate doesn’t climb as he tries to impress with power in the minors.

      Senzel is more polished and you’d think, if the Reds are smart, he’ll be moved quickly through the system, so long as the approach is good (stats be darned).

      • They play those good teams in mid week games when the power schools aren’t using their weekend starters more often than not.

        • Agree with the Duke on this.
          Mercer only played 3 games against what would be considered top tier program. 2 against Georgia…1 against Georgia Tech. That is all. All 3 were midweek.

  7. Go Vols

  8. It does seems teams are getting more risk adverse with the high school pitchers, especial if there are rumors of high bonus demands.

    • It seems like it is all getting a bit whacky with the slot values and teams having different sized pools to spend and the under the table negotiations ahead of the official pick to pay guys above slot when it looks like other teams are backing off because of known demands.

    • I wonder if the ever-increasing bonus demands on HS pitchers has to do with their perception that they might need TJ sometime before they hit the majors. Maybe they view this as their one guaranteed payday more so that pitches of the past.

      I’d love to see some candid interviews with these guys.

  9. Reds took a college catcher with the #43 (second round) pick, Chris Okey, Yes, he might have been the best guy on the board and all of that. But should we dismiss that perhaps the Reds are indicating they may need another catcher at the MLB level before Tyler Stephenson is ready???

    • You should always take a players position at the draft with a large grain of salt. A lot of drafted catchers get moved to a corner position because their bat projects better/quicker than their defense. If I remember correctly when draft there where already doubts that Stephenson would stay at catcher and don’t forget Votto was drafted as a catcher.

      • You need to think about what you just said… Catchers are drafted as catchers. Votto was never drafted to be a catcher. Yes some eventually move. We are not talking about SS here.

    • You’d be okay with one catcher in the system? That’s one position that you need multiple to have one pan out. Pitcher obviously moreso, but of all the positions, C and SS are the ones I’d be fine drafting one early every year.

    • and if the newly draft college kid is solid and makes MLB in 2018 or so, that leaves more time and patience for Stephenson to become polished. Judging by this year, Tyler needs several years of coaching and growth. If they BOTH pan out, great, trade one for a missing piece…probably LF again, like the past 10 years.

    • Joey Votto was drafted as a catcher.

    • The thing that struck me as unusual about the Okey pick is that he was chosen with the #43 overall pick a year following the Reds using the #11 overall on a catcher.

      This morning, I went back and looked at the Reds drafting history at the catching position from Mesoraco (2007) forward. Meso was #8 overall; Another guy was chosen in the double digit rounds (10th or later) that same year. In 2008 and 2009 collectively, 7 catchers were chosen, the highest being Barnhart in the 9th round. In 2010 Grandal was chosen at #12 overall; and again the ranks were filled out with several choices in the double digit rounds. Between Grandal and Stephenson (2015) the Reds typically drafted 3 or 4 catchers every year but all in the double digit rounds; and a late round guy was added to augment Stephenson last year..

      So, it was an atypical move to draft Okey at #43 overall the year following Stephenson at #11 overall. Since Okey is a major college level guy and the Reds have tended to draft and develop high school catchers over a long haul, I will stand by my statement that drafting Okey at #43 indicates the Reds feel they have a more urgent need for high level depth at catcher.

      • I agree with you, Jim.

        Given Tyler’s slow start and injuries, I’d be shocked to see him in the majors before 2020. I don’t think they want to sign an old FA or have Barnhart/Cabrera catching for the next 4 seasons exclusively.

      • There is a lot of concern about Tyler Stephenson’s wrist injury. It may require a somewhat complicated surgery. He could miss half of next year if he has the surgery. That will delay his development now by 1 1/2 years, out most of this year and half of next.

      • Also Jim, there seemed to be a run on Catchers in the 2nd round after the Reds picked Okey. There were 5 taken after Okey. So the C depth went down drastically in the 2nd round.
        At first I was unimpressed with this selection, but the more I look into it, the more solid a pick it becomes.

        • Make that a run on catchers period then because I noticed last night that Okey was the 5th taken from the top of the board which struck me as being top heavy. Maybe catching is becoming less of a specialty position and attracting more all around solid athletes??

      • If for no other reason than the fact they have a guy like Pachecho on the 25 man, I think your correct. The Reds need depth at this position. They can work with Barnhart and Cabrera for now, but they need a longer term answer. I just don’t see Stephenson being ready in the next few years.

      • Makes sense.

  10. Don’t like Wainwright. His “mentor” was Chris Carpenter and he has said how Carpenter taught him what he knows about how to be a pro. Has publicly referred to the Reds prefaced with an obscenity.

    • +1

      wlb’s

    • Yeah, he an Molina are really the only two holdovers that I can’t stand on that team. Both are good players but jerks. I know Holliday is still on the team but I’ve never disliked him.

  11. Thanks, Nick, to the links about Senzel. Looking forward to reading more about him.

  12. This is ESPN’s take on Senzel:

    “While I think Senzel will turn into only an average everyday player, possibly above-average in his peak years, he’s as low-risk an investment as there is in the draft.”

  13. This pick is not a bad pick but I do think it was about the ability to sign him. Ray and Puik both were there and they passed. They both project to be difference makers but Ray’s people were talking idiot numbers to sign. This pick was good enough for a momentary respite from this ugly season.

  14. You never know, he could turn into a very nice selection for the Reds, but I surely hope he’s not another Brandon Larson. Larson tore the cover off baseballs at LSU but when he got to the majors it was soon all over. There’s a world of difference between hitting with an aluminum bat and a wooden one.

    • Senzel was MVP of the Cape Cod League last year using wooden bats. I think that might have played into his stock being so high.

      • You beat me to it. The Cape Cod league is a great indicator of a hitter’s ability to hit with wooden bats. I’ll also add that modern bats used in NCAA are not as “lively” as the ones used when Larson was raking at LSU. Larson also raked in the minors, which suggests that the wooden bat wasn’t his issue but rather MLB pitching was. That risk is present with any player in the draft.

    • and they have to judge every college player on this. One of the reasons that the Cape Cod League is so telling. Michael Conforto dominated up there a few years ago and was an all everything 2 time Pac 12 player of the year

      Senzel’s Profile seems very comparable (as he also had a great Cape Cod season) with the exception that Conforto was a power hitter in college

    • Larson also dominated all the way through and including AAA. I think he probably rates having his poster on the wall at 4A hall of fame both for actual accomplishment in the minors and as the epitome of what a 4A player is,

      • I said the same thing above. Larson was a great ballplayer but MLB pitching proved greater.

        • I always wondered if there might not have been a lot the public did not know about going on behind the scenes where Larson was concerned.

          He ended up with less than a full season’s worth of plate appearances with the Reds spread out over 4 seasons. For a guy who had been a #14 overall pick and done the damage he had done at AAA in multiple seasons, that strikes me as a remarkably irregular and short look.

          I’m sure it nothing to do with the fact that the manager’s son was the 3B incumbent with fringe average to below average OPS+ for over 4 years Larson arrived in Cincy….

          • Hmm, hadn’t thought about the Aaron Boone, Bob Boone angle.

          • As Tracey Jones used to point out back when he was a legitimate baseball analyst, unless a player is a sure fire can’t miss HoF, he best have somebody in the org looking out for him. It just seemed to me that Larson never did despite being a #14 overall and putting up world beater numbers. And conversely, it is pretty hard to believe that A.Boone did not have somebody looking out for him.

        • (Larson)…. putting up world beater numbers
          up through AAA obviously.

        • Larson’s career MLB BABIP is .220… maybe in this day in age he gets a longer look. No one is a true-talent .220 BABIP guy.

          Also had a 10.5% career walk rate. That’s a .300+ OBP even if he’s a bad hitter.

        • I wonder if they drafted him because they thought he was Barry Larkin?

  15. Maybe I’m jumping the gun here, but when can we expect these draft picks to be inserted into the Reds’ prospects lists? Any ideas as to where Senzel and co. will rank in our system?

    • Doug Gray said last night on his redsminorleagues web site that he would have his new prospect list out at the end of the month. But he added that just off the top of his head, Senzel would fall in around the #4 on his prospect list behind only Stephenson, Reed, and Winker.

  16. I haven’t seen Senzel play but I was racking my brain trying to think of who he sounds like? Kevin Seitzer….career batting avg of .295 (.375 obp) with a high of 15 HRs in his first year in 1987. Of course Seitzer played for KC quite a while which has always been a big pitchers park. He was never a star but a solid player with over 1500 career hits which is pretty much how they’re describing Senzel.

  17. In their 33rd game in 2015, the Reds reached one million in attendance.

    Through 33 games in 2016, the Reds haven’t even reached three quarters of a million: 741,014. This is with only one fewer weekend date so far this year.

    Attendance is down 26.3% through this point in the season. I can’t help but worry about what this does to team revenue.

    • Not a ton. Most of the revenue comes from TV, or so I’m told.

      I’ve also read things that say attendance lags a year based on winning and losing. So this downturn is likely from last year’s team losing. Next year should see an even larger downturn unless the injection of young talent (Reed, Steph, Winker) make this a really interesting team.

      • Winker is on another tear. It would seem like maybe time to bring him up (re: Super2 there are less than 115 days left to end of season); but where would they play him??? Sure they could bring Duvall into 3B; but, he was as suspect there defensively as Suarez and in the meantime has turned himself into a decent LF.

        • could he be worse than Suarez?

          • Suarez has struck out in 41% of his plate appearances in the past 30 days.

        • Agreed with the 2 gents above. Suarez’s spot is not really untouchable. I still think the best thing to do with Winker is play him 5 games a week while giving Bruce a day off, Duvall a day off, and Suarez 3 days off. Duvall would play 3rd during Suarez’s off days, and Winker would play left (and right on Bruce’s off days).

          If Bruce gets traded, you can expect Winker to be called up the next day I think.

          • I wasn’t really thinking of Suarez as much as I was thinking of not messing with success by jerking Duvall around, whether to keep him as a LT OF piece or building value to flip him.

            As a result of the draft activity, we pretty much know who should be playing 3B for the Reds possibly in 2018 and almost certainly NLT 2019.

      • Last year’s numbers were also a bit inflated due to selling more ticket packages to people wanting a ticket to the All Star game.

        • That’s what everybody keeps saying, but 2015 attendance was lower than the previous two years.

          The Reds are tracking toward their second worst GABP attendance ever, just ahead of the woeful 2009 season.

    • The Cards and Cubs have always been big GABP draws because (among other factors) western KY and your state being areas of mixed loyalties. It can’t have helped that there was a very early 4 game Cub home series and that this first visit by the Cards was a midweek series.

    • They’re on pace to draw just under 1.9 million. With the Rose Reds HOF weekend and a bit of luck with 6 more games against the Cards and Cubs they could get to 2 million.

      Assuming attendance is down 500k from last year, that should be a revenue drop of 15 million ( Forbes uses $30 per head in after amusement tax+visiting team cut revenue).
      Depending on how you calculate things, payroll is down closer to 20 million and shared revenue should be up. My guess is they make more money this year because expenses were cut more than revenue.

  18. Votto’s OBP in AAA…381.

    Winker’s current OBP in AAA…381.

    Just sayin’.

  19. I would have disappointed if we had even entertained the idea of drafting a pitcher in our first two picks.We need position players that can hit.On that note when do we see Winker,Peraza,Schebler and Dixon from AA.Its audition time so lets see what they got.

    • We see Schebler when a monkey flies out my backside lands on my shoulder and sings the aria from La Traviata.
      I just don’t know where you play Winker. I don’t want to trade Bruce but either way you have to keep playing him. Either ride him or keep building value. Duvall… not going anywhere except to 3rd base. Too early to give up on Suarez for same reason. If you are going to move him… can’t be from the pine.
      In favor of starting the phase out of Phillips but wonder how that would affect the clubhouse. Can’t see that being a smooth transition.
      More important to see either Reed or Stephenson. Both if you move Strally to the pen.

      • I think you do a major platoon if Bruce is still a Red when Winker gets called up. Maybe those things will be mutually exclusive.

        Bruce gets 2 days off per week, Duvall gets 1 day off per week, Suarez gets 3 days off per week.

        That lets Winker play 6 games a week (or 5 if you only want Bruce to have 1 off day) in both left field and right field and gives Duvall some extended time at 3B each week.

        I think it is important to keep giving both Duvall and Suarez regular PT because they very well could be important on the next Reds winner in 2018 or 2019, but Winker is the guy you really want to get up to speed so he can replace Bruce’s production.

  20. I agree I don’t think the phase out of Phillips will be smooth.I don’t know how he is viewed in the clubhouse or in the front office.I will say he would not accept a trade to a contender(Nats) which was his right and he says he loves playing here.Regards of what any of us believe he is holding up the big league audition of other players.In addition tough decisions have to be made on Cosart and Bruce but the longer it takes the longer it takes to find out.If you decide to resign one or both what do you do with Winker,Peraza and the rest.You have to find out what these other guys can do and now is the time to do it.Personally I would re sign Bruce and move him to left field.Cosart is traded and Suarez moves to short.Peraza takes over right now at second and Duvall moves to third with Winker going to right.BP goes to the bench but plays some when Peraza/Suarez sits.I didn’t even mention Dixon who may crash and burn but what if he doesn’t and Schleber that has holes in his swing but his power plays in GABP.We already know about our pitchers and what they can do in the majors outside of Stephenson and Reed but I have never felt pitching will be a problem going forward.We ought to able to have 5 good starters and fill out the pen with the rest.Let the audition begin.

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About Nick Kirby

Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.

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