This week’s respondents are Chad Dotson, Wes Jenkins, Jason Linden and Steve Mancuso. Plus, making a return to the pages of Redleg Nation is our guest, Nick Doran, who wrote a terrific weekly column during the 2015 season.
Our Daily Reds Obsession: Who should play second base for the Reds in 2018?
Nick: Scooter Gennett. He was one of the five best offensive second basemen in the game this year. His 124 wRC+ this year was beaten only by Jose Altuve of the Astros, Jose Ramirez of the Indians and Daniel Murphy of the Nationals. For a frame of reference, Brandon Phillips’ best wRC+ was 122 in 2007 — and that was the only time he ever produced better than a 104 wRC+ in his career. Jose Peraza had a lowly 62 wRC+ this year — only four major league players were worse (at any position).
Chad: Nicholas Peter Senzel. We already know he can hit: .315/.393/.514 since being drafted 2nd overall in 2016. And while he has only played third base in his professional career, Senzel played both second and short during his college career at the University of Tennessee. No one seems to question whether he can handle second base athletically, and since the Reds already have one of the better third basemen in all of baseball (you may have heard of Eugenio Suarez), it seems likely that Senzel will play a lot of 2B in the spring. (Permit Scooter Gennett to keep Senzel’s seat warm until he’s ready to take over full-time.)
The kid is one of the top ten prospects in all of baseball, and he’s almost ready for the big leagues. If I were making the decisions, I’d move Suarez over to shortstop and leave Senzel at third, but I couldn’t argue with leaving Suarez at the hot corner. Senzel’s bat has to be in the lineup. It’ll be at second base.
Wes: Nick Senzel should play second; Eugenio Suarez should play third; and Zack Cozart should be at short. Yes I know — Senzel is young and unproven and the Reds don’t have the money to keep Zack. Regardless, the Reds aren’t going anywhere too terribly fast in 2018, so why not let Senzel get his sea legs from day one? I don’t want to hear your “but what if it shatters his confidence” malarky. Senzel has proven (in my mind) an ability to hit at a Major League level and by leaving him in the minors, the Reds are only hurting themselves in the long run.
Jason: Nick Senzel. No question. Senzel has destroyed the minors. It’s time. Gennett has been excellent, but he’s going to regress. Peraza, if he plays, will play at shortstop. Senzel is clearly the answer. I know the Reds will keep him down for a couple of weeks for service time considerations, but in mid-April, it’s time to go.
Steve: I’m trading Scooter Gennett before the clock strikes twelve. If his shoulder permits, Dilson Herrera has to start the season at 2B. He’s out of options, so the Reds lose him unless he makes the Opening Day roster. If he’s on the team, Herrera should play. The Reds should see what Herrera can do and then try to trade him. If Herrera busts in spring training — or remains injured — then slide Jose Peraza into the Opening Day 2B role. They should call up Nick Senzel for at least half of 2018 and install him at 2B. Senzel was a nationally ranked second baseman in high school and played second, short and third at Tennessee. If he has the arm strength and range to play shortstop, he can play second base.