Suarez.SGThe most important part of building a winning team the way the Reds are trying to is the part where the young guys start panning out. Certainly, you need some youngsters to pan out. If no prospects pan out, well, then you’re bad for a long, long, long time.

I’m optimistic about the Reds’ chances and today, I thought we’d talk about who’s most likely to be a breakout player for the Reds in 2017. You’ve seen his name before, but lots of people are still figuring out how to say it.

Eugenio Suarez.

Last year, as a 25-year-old, Suarez was given his first full season in the big leagues. He produced 1.7 WAR according to FanGraphs and 1.5 WAR according to Baseball-Reference. Those numbers mark him as an adequate, but nonetheless slightly below average player. I think that’s about to change and there are a variety of reasons.

Consider this: you are a baseball player given your first everyday job in the majors. The only problem is, you have to do it at a position you’ve pretty much never played before. At first, you are awful. Yet somehow, you improve quickly enough to provide positive defensive value over the course of the season.

Oh, and while learning this new position, you have the single worst hitting slump of your professional career. And yet, you still manage to have a pretty okay year. That’s Suarez last year. His first half was brutal in nearly every way you can imagine. As late as mid-July his season totals had him as basically replacement level. But he rebounded. And the Reds stuck with him. This tells us something.

I’m not big on character in terms of performance, but I do think it matters when players are willing to do whatever the team asks. It shows evidence of someone who’s willing to listen and work and improve. Suarez fits this mold, and I think it makes him a good candidate to build on the progress he made in the second half.

Track Record
In the minors Suarez hit. He hit and hit and hit. And he took walks while doing it. In his first two partial major league seasons, the plate discipline wasn’t what you’d have hoped, but in 2016, we saw evidence that he was getting comfortable. This is especially true if we give him a bit of a pass on his horrible May, which was uncharacteristically terrible and came while struggling at third base (hard to imagine he wasn’t in his own head a bit). This is a player who was going to hit, and now he’s started to.

Here’s what I think will happen:

  1. Good fielding at 3rd, all year. Good for 5-10 runs above average in the field.
  2. 20-25 HRs (we’ve already seen this).
  3. A walk rate around 10 percent, which probably puts his OBP in the .330-.350 range depending on his BA (it was .344 in the 2nd half).

The result: I think Suarez’ floor this year is about 3.0 WAR. His ceiling is probably around 5.0 WAR.

Eugenio Suarez is a player entering his prime years coming off a difficult season in which he still managed to progress and provide value. He’s shown a willingness to work and an ability to adjust. And I think he’s done taking his lumps. Third base is a crowded position in the NL right now (2016 annihilated 2006 for most WAR by third basemen and the wRC+ at 3rd was in the top-10 in the history of the game), and so Suarez might, at times, seem not to measure up, but when it all shakes out, I think 2017 is the year we’ll look back and see that he emerged as an excellent player.

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at

Join the conversation! 80 Comments

  1. It’s amazing how Suarez has become the forgotten man on the list of Reds prospects, to the point that he hasn’t really been on the list at all. With questions in the outfield about Duvall and Winker and trade interest in Hamilton, and up the middle with the “out with the old, in with the new” conversation, third base has been a non-issue. And when it does come up, the answer seems to be Senzel, soon. But it’s Eugenio’s job for now, so what if he did it very well this year? First it would help the Reds win a little more. Second, it would give the Reds more options moving forward. Maybe Suarez IS the third basemen of the future. Or maybe he’ll switch to second if Herrera doesn’t shine. And third, wouldn’t it be nice to have an extra 4 WAR third basemen to trade? Maybe the Reds would do better than the Frazier trade. But regardless of which option pans out, I think we’d all love to see Suarez blossom at third. Imagine an offense with a maturing Hamilton, steady Duvall and solid Schebler, healthy Mesoraco, and a near all-star Suarez to add to a full year of Votto power! And that’s before you add in Peraza or Herrera or Winker or Senzel. That would be so much fun. Thanks for this morning dose of optimism Jason.

    • Senzel has also been discussed as a 2B so yes, I agree with you here. Nothing bad about Suarez having a good year and although not as bullish on him as Jason is, I think Suarez is a good MLB starter. I think he’ll be fine at 3B.

      • I think Suárez is more likely to end up as a long-term 2B than Senzel. But regardless where they play, I think the Reds need to get Suárez and Senzel into the lineup together. Also think it’s possible that at some point, Duvall gets traded and one of those two get tried out in left field.

  2. That’s a bold statement but one I like….Geno’s rep when Reds got him from Tigers was all bat and not much glove.But something I remember Dusty Baker saying defense can be learned…in his words repetition repetition repetition.And you know Geno knows Reds drafted a young talented 3rd baseman,competition is a great motivator…I’ve liked the guy from day one but for awhile his defense was hard to watch,don’t believe I’ve ever seen a player field a ball and then not realize it was in his mitt.I still get a chuckle out of that…

    • Been bullish on him since he came here. Really like that swing and that arm. For me, a good reds team has him at a starting position, a great reds team had Senzel, herrara and peraza holding down a starting spot, while Suarez plays a zobrist role around the diamond and in the corner of spots. Really think solid defense and a .270/.340/.430 slash is there for this guy. Wow, all for a half season of Alfredo Simon. This team always makes such terrible trades. Always. Always. I know.

      • us old guys always talk about the “eye test” and what I noticed watching Geno at the plate was his OBP rising second half 2016 season,he seemed to be much more patient and working pitchers more.And stats back that up…his first half OBP was .295 and then second half a much more respectable .344. Eugenio second half slashline… .272/.344/.421 …I am down with that….

        • Second Half slash-lines:

          272/344/421 for Suarez
          293/369/333 for Hamilton
          355/380/477 for Peraza
          290/357/461 for Schebler

          If these guys can do anything similar over a whole season to what they did the second half of 2016 this could be a decent offense.

          Just for fun: 408/490/668 second half for Votto

        • How about that…I was sitting here mulling the exact same thing over.The players for Cincy who really had good second halves of 2016 and how that might carry over into 2017.But my conclusion was a little different…IMHO an offense based on those stats would be much better than decent,especially batting Hamilton/Peraza up front of batting order and letting them run base paths like they are capable of.I can see that batting order plating a lot of runs….

        • If those 5 players can keep up close to their second half slash lines (or in Votto’s case, even his full season slash), that would be more than just a decent offense. It could be top-5 in the NL if we could also get league-average or better production from Barnhart/Mesoraco and solid production from whoever the other middle infielder is.

        • That is a playoff team

          Schebler’s line was really interesting to me. He had a season of major adjustments. On fire, then slump, sent to AAA and slump, then become a AAA star.

          Then back up with the bigs and the guy is using all fields.

          If he continues to do that, we will not miss Jay Bruce, and I was a big proponent to extend Jay

    • When the Reds traded for him, he was thought of as a good defensive SS with questionable offensive ability.

  3. My gripe with the rebuild is that we have a roster full of 1-2 win players as currently constructed……with most of those at or near their ceilings. To get back into the playoff conversation we need some guys to break out and get into that 3-5 win range. There’s more than a few names that have that potential IMO—-Mez, Geno, Senzel, Peraza, and Winker. We can play ‘yeah, but….’ all day with these guys, but there is solid evidence with each to suggest it can be done.

    Not that it could get much worse, but you have to be bullish on the chances of the Reds taking a big step forward with their OBP in 2017.

    • I agree totally in principle. However, when you look at player acquisition that’s about the best you could have expected (of course we all agree that the Chapman trade was a lost opportunity). Suarez for Simon is one of the top 10 steal trades in Reds history. Heck the Disco trade is not far behind. But, what if you trade these 1-2 WAR players once they have established themselves while waiting for the stud prospects to come up. We all would love 4 young Mike Trouts but this may be the only path forward.

      • Yes, with the stinker trades that the Reds have made, the Latos and Simon trades were both wins. I’d say that the Leake trade has the potential to be a win as well. I’m bearish on Duvall but I think at worst he’s a Johnny Gomes kind of guy with better corner OF defense. That has solid value!

        • Outside of the Chapman trade, the Reds have done pretty well in getting value for their assets. The problem has been their timing. It never really made sense to trade Latos and Simon before the 2015 season, but hold on to Cueto and Leake until July. There was no reason at all not to move Chapman at the trade deadline in 2015 especially with all the rumors flying that the Reds were getting big offers. It made no sense to say that Frazier was off the table in July 2015 then trade him after the season was over and he had a poor 2nd half.

          This isn’t criticism in hindsight. I, and many others here, were pretty critical of those decisions at the time. Many suspect that it had more to do with the owner than the GM.

          • I think Big Bob C has his finger in the pie a lot more than he probably should. I think the All Star festivities and his not wanting to trade some of his franchise guys until afterwards hurt some but why still hang on come July 31st?

        • Way better than gomes. Quicker bat. Duvall will hit 40 this hear and 118

      • I don’t know Gaffer, look at the recent hauls. Granted we didn’t have a Sale, an ace type with years of control, but it’s not like he is super cheap either.

        If Adam “I love being injured and average” Eaton can get back TWO top 20 MiLB pitchers, then why on earth didn’t Cueto, Chapman and maybe even Frazier?

        I just can’t see how we didn’t add even one prospect to our own top 5 pool after trading four decent to great players the past two years. As I have noted, Jocketty must have fallen in love with quantity over quality. I’d rather have one top prospect, than three middling ones. Oh well, we shot our ammo and winged a wounded quail with little meat on it’s bones. We’re done now. nothing left to offer others that has any REAL value, so NOW we should be content with some #12 prospect on another team.

        We should NOT have been content with similar returns for the last few trades though. Peraza looks good, but he’ll have to be an all-star and HOF player to make up for the other ugly trades.

        • Disagree on Eaton’s injuries and I also think you’re undervaluing him. The last two seasons he’s had no trips to the DL and he’s had ~700 plate appearances each season. He appeared in 153 and 157 games respectively. He’s been well above average offensively and plays all 3 OF positions, even if there are questions about his defense in CF. I don’t see why you don’t like him.

        • Eaton had 15.3 wAR combined the past three seasons. That compares to 13.5 for Joey Votto over the same period. The Nationals obviously believe that metric has value.

  4. It is hard to keep in mind that Suarez is just 25 years old. That power surge he had early last year was nice. If that could become a little more common in his game, watch out. His defense improved nicely as the season progressed. His problems mostly stemmed from lapses in throwing accuracy to 1B, not so much from fielding. But I still like him as a 2B instead of 3B. I think his fielding at 2B would almost rival BP’s. He won’t make all the plays that BP has in the past, but he would make most of them.
    Things will get very interesting when Senzel and Herrera are ready within the next year. Herrera is the one I would trade in a package with Robert Stephenson to get a quality player at a position of need. Suarez holds down 2B until he is a free agent and Shed Long is ready, thus bypassing the need for Herrera.

  5. I’ve always found it interesting that, when discussing the future of this team, more than a few people envision Suarez as a “Super Sub” type player.

    And Jason, if your projections for Suarez are right, and he ends up as a “Super Sub” only because Senzel, Herrera, Peraza et. al are just THAT GOOD, you’ll know happy days are here again at Riverfront Stadium.

  6. Anyone interested in working for the Analytics dept. for the New York Yankees? Any George Castanza’s out there? They also have an intern position in the Analytics dept., too.

    “The New York Yankees, Jerry. I’m busting.”

  7. It seems most are ready to bench him in favor of Senzel. The infield surplus the Reds potentially have will be interesting. Especially with Cozart and BP still in the mix

    • I AM VERY WORRIED that Cozart and BP take time and ABs away from the others mainly because they have no trade value anyway. To me, the value in Suarez playing is that he could be flipped in 2018-19 for value. If Suarez loses 100 PA to being a supersub then his value will be a fraction of what it could be. I would non-tender Cozart to save some money at the least. BP is sunk money anyway.

      • They have already tendered Cozart. He will get an arbitration raise even if released. Now, it is my understanding that the salary is pro-rated if he is cut before opening day but there is still some sunk money into Cozart at this point. I’m not sure I am on the ‘get rid of Cozart for nothing’ train. He’s a quality defender that I’m rather certain could play 3B or 2B in a pinch, even if not starting. I also still think he’ll have some trade value and if he isn’t moved this off-season, I think moving him at the deadline is a certain possibility.

        • You can release him before he signs, and even if we wait until spring after he signs you owe 20percent of the total. So, at most we lose 800k or so.

          • Good to know. I knew it was pro-rated but didn’t know how exactly. Also didn’t know you could release a guy you offered arbitration to until arbitration was finalized. So, also good to know.

      • I can not understand your ‘no trade value’ comment! A major league player, who you only have a one year commitment too, has value. No they are not 25 with their best years in front of them but they can still play the game.

  8. Color me sceptical. I like Geno, but he is just not a good hitter vs right handed pitching. wRC of 82 last year vs righties and 89 for his career. Very succeptible to breaking stuff. He is gonna have to make big strides there to breakout.

    Its one of the reasons I think Duvall should work at third this spring. So in the second half if Geno is still struggling vs righties they can get Duvall, Schebler, and Winker in the lineup. Still, a guy who can play multiple infield positions and mash lefties is a nice player to have. I just think its kinda outrageous to suggest that 3 wins is his floor. Not saying it can’t happen, but its strange to call that a guy’s floor when he has never done anything like that before.

    • There are more than a dozen borderline star players in the game that struggle against same side pitching.

      • If he is a true talent 80-90 wRC guy vs righties, which will be 60-70 percent of the pitchers he will face if he plays everyday, then he would have to be Josh Donaldson vs lefties, which he is not, or Brooks Robinson with the glove, which he is definitely not, to be the 3-5 win player predicted.

        A lefty struggling vs lefties is not as big of a deal because the majority of their plate appearances will still be vs righties. And lefties generally have larger platoon splits, so their numbers vs righties will often be much higher than vs lefties. But a righty who struggles vs righties is in trouble and is usually not an everyday player.

        Just saying that he needs to improve in this area. And that the Reds should pay more attention to platoon splits when making lineup decisions. Geno really shouldn’t be batting higher than 6th vs righties and ideally even lower.

  9. Unless Nick Senzel is some kind of baseball phenom….he has a long way to go before he will be MLB ready and at this point in his career he is basically a big question mark.He gets to Louisville and plays well there (and stays healthy) Reds might have something but up to that point nobody knows….

    • This isn’t true at all. Senzel was regarded – when drafted – as the closest player in the draft to MLB ready. He’ll start at AA this year. His ETA is late 2017 or early 2018. Lots of top-level players make the jump straight from AA.

      Or, put more succinctly – if you get a “big question mark” with the second pick in teh draft, you did something wrong.

      • well…from what I remember this was regarded as a weak draft but who can say for sure at this point.And his Dayton stats were great…although his fielding stats were along same lines as Suarez.But the road to MLB is littered with the bones of good ball players…takes so much to rise to the top.Gotta be mentally prepared,need that emotional stability things that stats don’t show.And ya gotta hope Nick can stay off DL…baseball is a war of attrition and it’s a long hard march.Just IMHO you can’t can’t the chickens before they are hatched….as a fan ya gotta be hopeful he works out but it’s far from final..

        • So, basically you’re saying that your question marks associated with Senzel are no different than any other prospect? He has to stay healthy and progress in his development. I don’t think that’s saying anything enlightening or particularly relevant in Senzel’s case.

          He hasn’t had a history of injuries and he’s done nothing but hit wherever he’s played. Nobody is questioning his ability. In fact, he may be better than advertised by showing more speed and power than what scouts ascribed to him in college. You might say he looks like a phenom.

        • yeah….exactly what I meant.Senzel is no different than any other guy coming up the food chain.Learn as you go…have the right attitude and stay off DL my only points.And like Jeff Brantley says getting to MLB is only half the equation…staying in MLB is the other half.We have no idea how Senzel will do once he gets to this level…once the opposing pitching staffs start to probe and poke and look for weakness’s.But after a year and a half of facing MLB pitching with Eugenio Suarez you pretty much know what you have.Guess I’m just not ready to replace Suarez with Nick yet….there’s a lot that has to play out yet.

        • I don’t think anybody’s ready to replace Suarez with Senzel yet, Bob. If things play out the way they project to, the Reds would have a “nice” problem on their hands when deciding what to do with Senzel and Suarez. I personally think Suarez would be more valuable at 2B then 3B with his offensive and defensive skill set. He may very well end up there through attrition. Stay tuned.

        • I agree….it is a good problem to have.And my hope is Front Office lets it play out and let these guys tell them who should play and who should play where,IMHO that’s how you build a good team,you let that competition between players decide. If Nick Senzel is destined to play for Reds…make him earn it.

    • You may be right Bob, BUT we do see draft picks go straight to majors or are already full time starters the next year. It happens.

      I just hope, that if Senzel looks ready, they promote him and play him. If he isn’t ready for MLB pitching (maybe he mashes spring training rejects, but goes 1-13 against solid MLB pitchers lets say) then yes, start him in AA and make him prove he can put up solid numbers and isn’t an easy strikeout.

      But don’t be passive in promoting him just because he was just drafted. Not like he is 18. He is a man and the players are at their best in their 20s (and early 30s) so waiting too long simply gives away some solid years.

  10. I like Suarez also. His hitting seemed a bit off most of the year. I think we will get a true look at him this coming year.

    I hope this team has some consistency this year in the batting department. These players having great first, or second halves, really put the team in a hole.

  11. I also expect Suarez to make a big step up. He got in a deep funk about 3 weeks into the season, when he was learning a new position on a bad, bad team. He worked his way out of it, which is what you want to see in a young player.

    I think Suarez’s future may be in right field when Senzel comes up. He has the arm and enough speed to play there, and the third base-to-right field switch is not at all uncommon, as Lonnie Chisenhall recently did it for the Indians. In the long run I expect Suarez to have more bat than Scott Schebler, whom I expect to become a 4th outfielder who gets maybe 250 ABs. I am an inveterate position-switcher, though, so take that prediction with a grain of salt.

    The Reds, by the way, got an extra pick this week in the draft, at probably #32, so they will have the #2, #32 and about #38 picks this year, depending on where some free agents land. This will again be a very important draft for the Reds.

  12. What an unbelievable trade it was to get him for Alfredo Simon. I hope your right on the 3 war floor. That will help greatly in heading the Reds in the right direction.

    • Yeah, this trade is the best one I can recall. An absolute fleecing of Avila (Dombrowski at the time?) by Jocketty.

  13. If you truly think of it if Suarez comes to his prime in this year. After next year season cozart and Phillips be free agents and they be filled with peraza and dilson then if senzel does good ,2018 he will be up most likely. You have votto who’s not moving anywhere but you have a utility guy in peraza that could possible be switched out with Hamilton. Then this year coming to trade deadline if Duvall and Hamilton are doing good cash in there value for some more quality pitching and depth at other positions. That would also open room for winker get called up and then you can have a 2018 line up with peraza , scheblar , senzel, dilson , winker and Suarez. Then add votto and if barnheart is still are catcher you have a pretty well rounded average and obp team. The power will be little with only Suarez, votto and possible senzel. But they have realize what they have in minors on pitching side, I know they have a lot invested into homer but it’s time let him go you got key too 3 rotation in finnegan, straily and disco you need build around that maybe have reed or Stephenson step up and add Amir garret we possible could have young dominate pitching rotation with multiple years of control. You have already a great 1-2 punch in back end bullpen with Iglesias and lorenzo, work with minors on that you could add Tyler mahal, rookie Davis , Ian kholkia (missed spelled badly I know) , also got wandy peralta who showed some upside and you can look around we have starters we can use for bullpen pieces. Look what the royals did to there bullpen most there bullpen was starters at one point so don’t be scared to move starters into bullpen. The team has a great promise for few years just depends on how smart dick Williams is with the assets he has to build with.

    • Meso is still on the team. I think he will surprise this year

      I had a torn labrum in my hip last year and understand the rehab and the effects of the injury

      A lot of people have written him off.

      I will suggest that he will have a bigger year than Suarez, and I agree with this article

      • If Mesoraco is able to catch regularly from a physical standpoint, I still wonder what the effect of essentially 2 years away from facing Major League pitching will have on his ability to hit.

    • I like the way you think. I see good things myself.

  14. Good analysis. If Suarez does develop this way, he’s the third baseman until Senzel (or someone else) outperforms him. I’m not of the mindset that Senzel automatically steps into third base in the bigs after another two or three years in the minors. He has to prove he’s better than Suarez.

    • Bingo….you said it better than I did Tom 🙂

    • I’m not sure anyone is suggesting Senzel should be handed a starting MLB job after 1/2 a season in A-ball.

      His likely (>50%) outcome, however, is probably something better than Suarez, since Suarez hasn’t hit particularly well.

      So, until Senzel gives us a reason to think he won’t be better than Suarez, it’s easy (lazy, maybe) to assume he will be in the future, given current trajectory.

    • If Senzel spends 3 years in the minors, the Reds brass should be flogged. While he could flame out, at this point, I see sizeable chance he’ll be the best third baseman in the Reds system by the end of 2017 (including MLB 3Bs) and if so, he’d better be starting in 2018. If Suarez surprises and exceeds so-so expectations, then fine, maybe he keeps 3B, but I am not sure Senzel isn’t already better and Senzel is not some 18 year hold HS draftee that we’d expect needing 3 or 4 years minimum.

      • Yes Michael…If he shows a Kris Bryant-like talent, He should come up in May of 2018 at the latest. If he’s not here by then, then he probably isn’t going to be a game changer type of player

  15. No matter where they play, it’s apparent the reds want middle infielders at every position.

  16. My “eye test” tells me Suarez is a much better hitter when he’s not trying to yank everything out of the yard. He’s powerful enough–especially in GABP–that he’ll hit homeruns without swinging with an uppercut. When his swing flattens out and he focuses on contact, he looks much more dangerous at the plate IMHO.

    • I think you’re right, but that is the trick MOST MLB hitters today have to pull off, NOT swinging for the fences. Most fail and keep failing to the tune of .220 and .230 averages. I don’t think Suarez will win that battle, but maybe he does enough to hit .250 or .260 and still have solid power. We’ll see.

    • You’re taking the same eye-test as I am Eric. He appears to be a better hitter when he drives the ball to the RCF gap and beyond

      • I think you can say that about most hitters. When you’re struggling at the plate, you tend to get anxious. This causes a few different problems including: swinging at bad pitches, swinging early, being too quick on pitches on the inner half (fouling them off), pulling other pitches because you’re early, and pulling off the ball in general. When you’re seeing the ball well and things are going well, you tend to be more relaxed and let the ball get a little deeper in the zone. You’re locked in and driving the pitches on the outer half the other way. You’re laying off bad pitches. You’re right on time on those inner half pitches and ripping them down the line. Most guys when they are going through slumps are telling themselves “Don’t try to do too much. Make him come to you. Wait, wait, wait….”

  17. I like Suarez a lot.. he has shown an ability to drive the baseball to cf and right center. He did improve at 3b and he seems to compete. He can be a solid right handed bat on the next Reds team…i don’t see him changing the trajectory of the franchise though.

    W,hile no one is handing Senzel anything…he was the best hitter in college last year….hit very well in the cape cod league and was facing SEC #1 starters every Friday night. He’s more advanced than the average “prospect” and recent elite college hitters have advanced quickly. Hopefully he stays healthy….tears up high A+ and moves to AA by early summer. He is an organization changing type prospect…those are rare.

    • Just to be Devil’s Advocate here…at what point in Nick’s career do you want to start his Arb Clock?? Always the business end of this too…

      • Memorial Day weekend 2018…the start of summer.

      • I am getting over the arb clock thing. Holding players back TOO long could derail them permanently. I know if I were doing everything asked, and wasn’t getting promoted, I’d find myself sulking a bit or giving a little less effort. Not everyone would do that, but many more would give up even sooner.

        While arb clock is important, not at the expense of destroying another promising prospect, which the Reds somehow manage to do more often than the average MLB franchise.

      • It’s like the Mike Trout argument I made early in 2016 here at RLN. I believe had the Reds drafted Mike Trout, instead of Mike Leake, they would NOT have promoted him at 19 and made him full time starting CF as a 20 year old. I cringe thinking about how long he would have stayed in the minors, being methodically promoted from rookie to low A to high A to AA to AAA. Heck, he might STILL be wallowing in AAA as a Red, never to be the star he’s become.

        One would think even the Reds sorry player development system couldn’t have held him back past 22 from MLB, but I really do wonder how badly we’d have screwed up NOT promoting a very young prospect quickly.

        • Jay Bruce move rapidly through the system. He was drafted as an elite prospect, and moved quickly to the majors. Some think that he would have actually benefited from a little more time in the minors to develop better hitting habits. Once he got to the Majors, he started well but then tried to pull everything. Only this last year did he start to go back to driving the ball to all fields.
          Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Kris Bryant were all remarkable young players. Anthony Rizzo, now a very good hitting 1st baseman, struggled for a while at the major league level.
          If Senzel tears up High A and AA, he’ll get here soon enough.

      • So THAT is big reason I don’t care as much about arb clock. If the player is raking and looking like an MLB ready prospect, then promote the man and worry about that lost year much later.

        • I thought how Cubbies handled Kris Bryant and his Arb Clock was just good business….these premium players are few and far between,why not keep them under club control as long as possible?? Especially when your payroll is half of other clubs….clubs you have to bid against in Free Agent market.And to me a lot of this is synchronizing all these young player’s development so they all peak in same under club control time frame.If I was DW I’d be telling Nick you’ll be on Reds team when we need you and not before and in meanwhile hone your skills at Louisville.And don’t take it personally and don’t be discouraged…this is business and nothing else.

        • To your point about the Reds’ tendency to move people slowly through the organization, while Senzel likely isn’t Albert Pujols, in 2000 Pujols played 121 games at class A, 21 games at A+ and 3 at AAA. In 2001 he played 161 games for the Cardinals hitting .329 with 37 HR and 130 RBI.

        • I agree with Micheal, if he is special, get him to MLB by May of 2018. Don’t let him become Jesse Winker-like…minor league prospect forever. (Injuries derailed him, but you get the point)

  18. Suarez hit .248 with an OBP of .317. He had 25 doubles and 2 triples and 21 home runs.
    To develop into that next level player, his OBP needs to increase 20 points and he needs a boost in power…. If he could hit 30 doubles and 25 home runs and get on base at a .335+ clip, then you’ve got a really good RH bat in your line-up. Those are significant increases in offensive performance and requires good health, but not out of the realm of possibility.

    • I think he is capable of that. Whether he achieves those numbers only time will tell but I’m cautiously optimistic.

  19. To be honest I think the reds will blow it all and trade him. Seems like a replay of Edwin Encarnacion situation. Edwin showed spotty defense, and flashed breakout numbers like suarez. I think his progression will be interpreted the wrong way like edwin. Its almost dead on if you look at edwin at baseball reference numbers his first 3 years.

    We can give cozart, stubbs and bruce all the time in the world. When it comes to suarez and edwin, somehow the rules change. This kid is going to be a masher. I don’t have much confidence in the front office to make the right decision.

    • Encarnacion was a bit better in his age 24 season than Suarez. (Encarnacion was born in January and Suarez in July, so it isn’t exact.) At age 23, Suarez had a 106 OPS+ while Edwin was at 108; at 24, it was Suarez 92 and Edwin 101.

      In 2008, at 25, Edwin’s average dipped to .251 but his power spiked, and when he hit only .209 in the first half of 2009 (with a .333 OBP), they traded him. (Remember, though, the Blue Jays DFA’d him at one point, but signed him back, so the Jays gave up on him, too.) Looking back at it, as you suggest, the Reds seem to have overvalued average in the decision to give up on Edwin.

      Encarnacion was a truly bad defensive third baseman. He came up as a third baseman and never got better. The Blue Jays gave up on him there in early 2011, when he carded a .892 fielding percentage in 274 innings. Suarez learned the position last year, and by September in my opinion was pretty good there.

      I don’t think the Reds will trade Suarez, because Price likes him and Suarez seems to be popular with his teammates. As I’ve said, I like Suarez’s bat but think that they will move him to right field when Senzel is ready.

      Edwin was actually a Red a bit longer than Stubbs, who to me got playing time that would have been better used on Chris Heisey.

    • I was a big EE fan but don’t think he was treated unfairly, especially when compared to Cozart, Stubbs and Bruce. What I didn’t understand was why they never tried moving him to LF and why they seemed to undervalue his plate-discipline. As for Cozart getting all the time in the world, who did we have to plug into SS other than Cozart? Suarez played there when Cozart was hurt. Stubbs and Bruce were going to get all the time in the world because they were 1st-round draft choices and with the money invested, they are going to get every chance the Reds can give them.

    • Time will tell, but I think when Senzel get to the majors, Suarez is at 2nd base, and his projections are strong..

  20. To say he hit and hit and hit in the minors is a stretch. His career minor league slash line is .276/.361/.417. It’s solid, but certainly not exceptional.

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About Jason Linden

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at


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