“Knock Knock”

That’s the sound of Nick Senzel beating on the door. Senzel is heating up in Louisville. He’s only played in 6 games since injuring his ankle but he’s currently slashing .296/.345/.444.

Up in big league land the Reds outfield has been less than stellar. Their left, right, and center field positions are all in the bottom 5 in the National League in OPS. Center field presents the biggest red flag where the Reds rank dead last in OPS.

It’s been obvious that the Reds outfield has struggled this season. Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Scott Schebler, Jesse Winker, and Phil Ervin have all been super inconsistent. The fact of the matter is that the Reds can’t continue to go on with the obvious lack of outfield production – especially from center field.

How can the Reds get more production from center field? Well, there’s a piece of the puzzle staring them directly in the face. With service time no longer a factor (like it ever was…right?), it’s only a matter of time before Nick Senzel is called up to try and give the Reds outfield a shot in the arm. How his call up affects outfield personnel, playing time, and roster spots will be one of the more challenging things David Bell has had to deal with in his young career.

The Options

So, what are the options? Scott Schebler is going to lose significant playing time (or his roster spot) in center field, and deservedly so. Although it’s still relatively early, Schebler has been a shell of himself when comparing his offensive production to past seasons. He’s been the weak link in an already weak outfield.


With Senzel on the way and Kemp close to a return from the IL, the Reds are going to have to open up roster spots. My guess is that Kyle Farmer and either Scott Schebler or Phil Ervin are going to be sent down to Louisville. Both Schebler and Ervin have options. If it were me, I would send Schebler down. Doing so would allow the Reds to kill two birds with one stone. Ervin is a former number 1 pick and the Reds need to find out once and for all if he can contribute at the major league level. Although it screams small sample size, Schebler just hasn’t been a quality outfielder this year. A trip to Louisville and a chance for Schebler to work on his approach could be just the thing he needs going forward.

Going Forward

This leaves us with outfield roster spots made up of Jesse Winker, Phil Ervin, Matt Kemp, Nick Senzel, and Yasiel Puig. Puig and Winker are going to still get significant playing time in the corner outfield positions. I’d like to see Winker get even more playing time than he’s been allotted to begin the year. I think he’s earned a chance to prove himself against left handed pitching, especially with Kemp still on the IL. Winker is a building block of the future. The Reds need to figure out an approach with him rather than defaulting him to the bench every time a left handed pitcher even looks at the mound.

In MY perfect world (and hopefully the Reds) I would love it if Senzel, Puig, and Winker got the majority of playing time in the outfield going forward. The Reds could use Ervin and Kemp in spot starts or if the match up sometimes dictated it (there is value in Kemp facing righties…there just is).

Hopefully the Nick Senzel call up stabilizes and cements the Reds’ outfield and leads to better offensive production from center field. The good news is, it can’t get much worse – right?

What would your roster moves/outfield look like going forward, Nation?


42 Responses

  1. David

    As big a professional slap in the face to Schebler as it would be, I actually think 4-5 weeks at AAA, playing every day and getting his timing back would help him immensely. Sitting on the bench and not playing at all will be a lost season.

    But I don’t know if the Reds’ outfield is a conundrum, or just really bad. I lean to really bad. We all had such high hopes after the Dodger trade this winter.
    Everybody is just hitting like crap.
    Winker has shown a lot of power, and the last few weeks his hitting is better. Suarez is starting to hit more consistently. Iglesias has been good, in his limited way.
    The rest….Meh.

  2. Ghettotrout1

    Puig, Senzel and Winker and be done with it. Kemp looks like a beer league softballer out there on defense and plays with about as much passion as an accountant doing cash recons.

    • ToBeDetermined

      HEY !
      I LOVE doing Bank Reconciliations

    • James Vincent

      Because sure every prosthetic is a superstar the minute they come out of the minor leagues. Lol 60 make it at all. Even less are stars. Scott and everyone else is getting killed not playing every day. This is the problem. Same thing last year. And of course the ridiculous lineups.

  3. Klugo

    Not that crowded. Senzel, Winker, Puig. Everyone else is dispensable.

    • VaRedsFan

      This seems to be the consensus, and i agree.

      Winker needs to take this “Kemp-free” opportunity to prove himself vs. Lefties.
      So far, only 1-12 this year.

      If he doesn’t take the bull by the horns. Then Kemp will still get the starts vs. lefties.

      • ToBeDetermined


        Good enough for me.
        DB make it so.

  4. Chris Holbert

    I agree that i should be Winker, Senzel, Puig. I would probably make Ervin as 4. As soon as Kemp returns, DFA. Schebler needs to go to AAA, and keep that bench flexibility. Bench would then be DD, Farmer, Ervin, and the extra catcher( Barnhart?). I think it maybe Casali time as well.

  5. jreis

    I got to admit Jeff, (and I can’t believe I am admitting this!) but Lorenzen is probably the best outfielder we have right now. if Senzel struggles in center or gets injured I would rather see Lorenzen take his place in center than Ervin or Schebler. I don’t know if he would hit consistently but he is like a Billy Hamilton in the fact that if he does get on base he has a pretty good chance to score.

    • redsfan2006

      Alright, that is a REALLY big stretch, I hope you were being sarcastic.

      • ToBeDetermined


        I don’t think he was being sarcastic.

  6. Old-school

    Senzel is coming up Friday and it’s not to sit. He is the everyday CF going forward in 2019. Puig isnt sitting and neither is Winker. Winkers numbers in terms of OPS for his first 600 at bats rank with the Reds greats. That said, it’s 162 games and sitting against the occassional left hander or giving Puig a day off and plugging in Ervin or Kemp is fine.

    Send Schebler to AAA to play CF and hit third for 3-4 weeks. He still can help the Reds if he’s healthy and gets his power lefty bat back. The Reds aren’t cutting Kemp.

    The offense will improve mid May when more games at GABP and the humidity hits. Some tough road venues early in the season not helping the offense

    • lwblogger2

      That’s where I’m at on everything as well. Exactly what I’d do but what do I know, right?

  7. Phil

    If the Reds are going to continue with 12 position players and 13 pitchers then I wouldn’t want to have 2 guys on the roster who should only play in left field (Winker and Kemp).
    Barnhart and Casali at catcher
    Votto at 1B
    Peraza and Iglesias in the middle infield
    Suarez at 3B
    Puig, Winker and Ervin as outfielders. Winker should defensively be limited to LF
    Senzel starting CF could also back up 2B and 3B
    Dietrich can back up and get some starts at 1B, 2B, 3B and the outfield corners
    That’s 11. I could maybe see the argument for Kemp being included, in place of Ervin or as the 12th spot, if he returns to hitting like he has the last 3 or 4 seasons (a 110 wRC+ 2016-2018). I’d like more flexibility on the bench though and could see Farmer or Blandino once he’s healthy.

  8. BigRedMike

    The OF should be Senzel, Winker, and Ervin on a daily basis. Puig can be the 4th. Kemp provides no value and should be DFA. Schebler can stay as the 5th OF since he has decent power off the bench.

    Dodgers are certainly not missing Puig and Kemp. At least it cleared up space by getting rid of Bailey.
    Dodgers OF has 4.5 WAR and Puig and Kemp have provided -1.1 WAR.

    • Jeff Gangloff

      Puig isn’t getting benched for Ervin. He’s just not.

      • matthew hendley

        definitely not as Ervin was optioned back to AAA for Matt Bowman (RHP). Even if he hadn’t the original idea was just dumb

      • RichS

        As much as I like Puig, he is not carrying his weight. It appears he can only hit a low fastball on the inside of the plate. I know there is a history between Puig and the hitting coach, but most of the hitters a suffering from some basic fundamentals…cannot pull every pitch, drive the ball up the middle, hit where the pitch is thrown…etc. Coach is a data wonk and is missing basic fundamentals including the launch angle. Think about the geometry of trying to hit a round ball with a round bat at 15 degree angle. You have to be trying to find a spot on the bottom of the ball. There goes Puig trying to pull a slider on the outside and striking out for the 28th time.
        So my answer is change the coach . Doesn’t matter who plays where if they are going to ignore basic fundamentals.

  9. Roger Garrett

    As said its Senzel,Winker and Puig.Younger guys that are better then the rest.Play them the rest of the way and every day and lets move on.All have hit at all stops.No reason not to think they won’t continue.Casali need more starts because he is a threat and Tucker is not.Dietrich plays some until Scooter returns at second base.Ervin gets a start here and there to spell Winker against a lefty but not every lefty.

  10. DocProc

    We don’t need five outfielders, especially with Dietrich and Lorenzen on the roster. Winker, Senzel, and Puig should get the majority of starts the rest of the season, with Kemp subbing for Winker when facing a lefty. Sorry, Matt, but you’re mostly a bench bat once you return.

  11. doofus

    “My swing is a fine piece of machinery.” ~joey votto

    I just read this, laughed, and had to share it.

  12. AllTheHype

    It’s not much of a conundrum at all. Pretty obvious Schebler needs to get PAs at a less pressure filled environment (AAA). He is neither a good starter or a good bench player for the Reds right now. Winker, Senzel, and Puig should be getting the majority of the PAs in the OF.

    • ToBeDetermined


      “It’s not much of a conundrum at all. Pretty obvious”

      Agreed. Its pretty obvious some of these guys need to play everyday and some are not.
      DB needs to make up his mind who is the starting 3 OFs and let them go day in day out for a while. Nobody has stood up and taken the brass ring. At some point the manager just has to choose his starters and let them start everyday for a week or so.

  13. JimmyGC

    Schebler is the obvious choice in my mind to be sent down seeing as Ervin was sent down to make room for Bowman. ABs are the ticket to breaking out of slumps. Based on past performance, the best bats IMO would be Senzel, Puig, Winker and Kemp. Given that Winker has more of a future than Kemp, I would give most of the playing time to Winker, Senzel and Puig. Dump Kemp by the trade deadline. Having Lorenzen in our back pockets is a great plus as well.

  14. Scott C

    Just one small argument with your article Jeff: Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Scott Schebler, Jesse Winker, and Phil Ervin have all been super inconsistent. That is not totally true, Winker had a slow start but since that start has played pretty consistently and while his OPS of 822 is not in the upper half of NL outfielders it is not in the bottom 5% either. He has consistently been pulling up his slash line over the past couple of weeks and particularly has hit well toward the end of games.

    • Jeff Gangloff

      It’s funny…I had the sentence “while Puig and Winker have been playing better as of late” but I deleted it. I agree with you, though.

  15. Doc

    How is Ervin considered to be inconsistent? He has one start. If you sit on the bench all the time, does inconsistent mean he gets more splinters some days than others?

    • Hanawi

      Agree. The Reds refusal to give Ervin consistent at bats is frustrating.

  16. John in BufordGA

    No it shouldn’t. There is no way that Puig gets benched for Ervin

  17. WVRedlegs

    Bowman gets called up and Phil Ervin gets demoted. What does this do to the OF for tonight, only 3 OF? And only 3 on the bench? That is why Dietrich is in LF tonight.
    The front office gets an “F” on roster management here today. A 9 man bullpen. Maybe Lorenzen can pinch hit, he is going to have to the next 2 games.

    • lwblogger2

      9 relief pitchers is ridiculous.

  18. matthew hendley

    Bowman was needed much more for the bullpen then Ervin was for the OF. Simple as that, short of a complete meltdown I would like to see Bowman stay up as well so sending him back down Friday is not the preferred move.
    Senzel, Puig and Winker, plugging Schebler and when he returns, Kemp in as day off options. Farmer will be the one getting sent down I think, time for him to get regular At bats. Lorenzen is needed in the bullpen, not pinch running without throwing a pitch with a depleted BP.

    • matthew hendley

      I completely mind blocked on this, Duke DFA, Senzel brought up, Farmer stays, start the BP shuttle with Louisville

      • Scott C

        Should be the move. Doesn’t mean it will.

  19. scottya

    Ervin to AAA, Schebler to bench role and rarely start in RF, Kemp only starts against lefties, Senzel everyday CF & Puig everday RF, Winker everday LF except agains lefties.

    This will get the ball rolling in the right directions (looking at you babip).

  20. David

    I’m stunned by how many people consider a right fielder batting .190 as a lock to remain in the starting lineup. Teams that want to win wouldn’t have that guy starting. Teams who make player decisions based on how much money the owner has invested are a different matter, I know. The historic badness of this offense through a month can’t be overstated. This team has the pitching to win. Give us AVERAGE MLB players and we’ll have a shot. This lack of offense needs to be addressed in the next few weeks or we might as well start trading assets for future value again. Winker is coming around, Senzel deserves a shot, the rest are guys who don’t deserve a roster spot. Puig won’t be here next year…why should we care about his feelings? Let him ride the bus in AAA for a month. This is a team losing games because of the fragile egos of millionaires? Frustrating.