I was skimming through AM radio stations the other night when a discussion caught my attention. A local sports talk show host asked the following question: “Which outfielder will have the best season and which outfielder will have the second-best season for the Reds in 2020?” Nick Castellanos was assumed to have the best season while Jesse Winker, Shogo Akiyama, and even Phillip Ervin were mentioned as candidates to have the second best season. Nick Senzel was almost absent from the conversation. The host commented on how Senzel is going to struggle to find at-bats in the crowded Cincinnati Reds outfield.

What?

There’s been a lot of weirdness going on with Nick Senzel this off-season. He’s been rehabbing from a shoulder injury and he’s been mentioned in trade rumors. Senzel has also been devalued by many Reds fans. They were (and still are) ready to ship him off for a year of “all in” and now there’s talk of him barely getting playing time and at bats in the outfield.

What?

I think many of us have forgotten that Nick Senzel is the crown jewel of the Reds rebuild. He was the prize for a 98-loss season. The former TOP 5 prospect in baseball was (and still is to some) the hope and the future. Senzel has shown his ability through every level of the minor leagues and half a season in the big leagues.

There’s an argument that Nick Senzel is injury prone. A big part of Shogo Akiyama being signed was because of this. He’s an insurance policy and a nice player. Akiyama is going to get at-bats and playing time in center field. He’s going to be the first guy to come off the bench. What Shogo Akiyama shouldn’t be is a player that steals significant playing time from one of the most polished prospects the Reds have had in years. Shogo Akiyama wasn’t a block buster free agent signing whose talent level demands playing time.

Just a year ago Reds’ fans were beyond excited for Nick Senzel to make his debut on Opening Day. Soon after, they were upset to learn he would start the season in Louisville. Fast forward a year later and Senzel is an afterthought – a guy many don’t consider to be a significant contributor on this years team.

Who’s going to be the second-best player in the Reds outfield in 2020?

I think I have my answer: Nick Senzel

73 Responses

  1. Jeff Greer

    Just let Nick play and he will quiet the doubters.

    • earmbrister

      Jeff G and Jeff G (coincidence). No truer words have been spoken. Senzel is not some trinket that you trade away or sit on the bench. He’s the anchor of this OF for years to come. Senzel is the starter in CF. Period.

    • Ron Couch

      He shouldnt even be in the outfield. Why in the world did they sign Moose to a 4 year deal at more than double what he made last year when we had Senzel waiting to play second. Thats why we didnt even speak to our best or 2nd best offensive player in 17 and 18 and traded him. (Scooter) For the past 3 years of his prime, no team in all of baseball would offer him more than a year plus option contract and suddenly we know more than the other 29 teams? That why he flew in at midnight to sign it before they sobered up. Stupid move when we had Senzel waiting to play second and put injuries behind him

  2. Steve Schoenbaechler

    People may say, “Oh, Senzel can just fill in for Shogo, NickC, Moose, ans Suarez.
    The thing is, I don’t believe the Reds didn’t bring NickC, Moose, and Shogo to play 120 games or less. So, just where is Senzel going to get his starts? Even if Shogo moves to the corner OF for Nick when Nick sits, that simply a position move. Senzel and Shogo would still be starting.

    I mean, consider, for example, would we sit Nick, Moose, Shogo, and Suarez 30 games each (starting 130 games), just so Senzel could get 120 games to start, only 60 of them in the OF. Can you really call him an OF, then?

    Not to leave out, we would be asking him to play 4 different positions. He’s going to be working on his defense so much for that, how much work on his hitting is he going to be able to get?

    “Senzel can start in the other corner OF spot.” That spot is already being platooned by Winker and Ervin. You are going to platoon it with 3 guys?

    And, then, Senzel, a while back, we ask him to go play a position he’s never played, CF, and he played it well, even though he never learned how to stay healthy playing it. Now, we would ask him not only play that position but be ready to play 3 other positions at the same time?

    I do believe the Reds did try to trade Senzel this season; that’s why they brought in these other guys. They simply were never offered anything to pull the trigger on any deal.

    Senzel may say all the pro-company lines to keep everything position. But, if I was him, I couldn’t help thinking I would be thinking, “Just take time with my therapy, then put me at SS. I’d rather work only that position and get more playing time during the season than play 4 other positions.”

    Right now, I can’t help thinking what we may be trying to keep Senzel for the DH position when that comes to the NL. I wouldn’t wait that long.

    Nope, the best thing right now for Senzel would be if one of these other players, heaven forbid, gets hurt badly, where we could plug Senzel into that position long term. Past that, I don’t see how Senzel gets much use on this team past a utility guy.

    • sixpack

      I think it will be Senzel in CF most of the time. Shogo will get 3/4 starts a week in two positions. Yes Winkler and Ervin will platoon. Senzel will start in AAA if he does not get a week of play before the season. Time will show.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        So, how many starts are you looking at, then? I mean, first, 3/4 of the starts means only 120 games. We would really bring Shogo in to start 120 games only? Then, in two positions, which positions? If CF, then that means Senzel will only get 100 starts in CF, as well as Nick C 100 starts? Or, are you going to have a 3 man platoon with Winker and Ervin, also?

      • Steve

        They signed him to spell outfielders and as injury insurance. They didn’t sign a 31 year old who has never played in the states to take over for Nick Senzel. Additionally, don’t make it seem like they paid him a fortune and so his contract demands playing time, it’s 7 million a year.

      • Charles Lackey

        As a Reds fan Senzel is an all star in the making IF given a chance. Put him in CF and leave him alone. Why the Reds Front Office signed a player from Japan is a real puzzle he is 31 years old and an unproven player. WHY? WHY? WHY?
        was he signed. Play Senzel and let him play because he has proven he can play terrific baseball as he has done at every level.

      • JB

        So you think they bring in a guy making only about 7 mil a year to take over center from the teams top prospect? There is a reason you are sitting on a couch and not the GM

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        For some on here. . .

        You really think the team is going to pin its hopes in CF on a often-injured player who has yet to reach his potential because of his injuries, many on here already saying his play is going to be limited because of his injuries.

        Second, $7 million for a 2nd string OF? Seriously?!!! The Reds have loads of that already at 1/7 the cost? So, your assumption on that is entirely wrong. That would be a grade school error to make for a FO person. I give this FO a lot more credit than that.

        As well as, what was our biggest problem last year. Offense. What part of the offense? OBP. Example? What were the numbers, we hit many more HR’s last year over the year before but only scored 1 more run. Why? We had no one on base! No OBP. Have you looked at Shogo’s OBP record in the Japan league? A lot more than any OF we had last season.

        @JB The only person making couch GM mistakes on here is you.

    • Steve

      You think the Reds grand plan is to utilize the best athlete (of the regular position players) on the team as a full time DH?????

    • AllTheHype

      Pretty simple. Castellanos and Senzel are OF starters and will get the majority of at bats. All else (including Shogo and Winker) are role players. Winker is clearly a platoon bat who should almost never get ABs against LHP.

      It’s not that complicated.

      • Huelsy

        I agree 100% I think Shogo will end up starting about 90 or so games between the 3 outfield positions, basically a super sub to give the others a day off and let Castellanos cover 1st and 3rd for Votto’s and Suarez’s days off.

    • Rod Andrews

      Almost no way is he not going to be the everyday center fielder once he’s back to 100%. The guy is only 25, faster, younger, and more talented than anyone else in the outfield. People just need to give him a chance, not just 400 ABs.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        As many times as Senzel has been injured running against the fence, I would be limiting his time out there. Either that, or take the time to teach him how to handle the fence.

        People on here talk about they love his style of play in the OF. The thing is, that style of play is also what’s putting him on the DL. That style of play is what’s making him an oft-injured player who will never realize his potential instead of a smart player who realizes that his presence on the field actually makes the team better than his presence on the DL. Thus, he needs to learn to play smarter while in CF. If we aren’t going to take the time to teach him that, then limit his time out there; move him back to the majority of IF.

        For the DH comment, for a good hitter who gets oft-injured while playing defense, that is Management 101, put your players and team in positions to be successful, to win. Putting your player in a position to get injured again isn’t smart baseball.

        A very similar thing happened to Edwin Encarnacion. Everyone recalls his D here. He couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn with a throw from 3rd base. But, trade him to the AL and, as DH, look what he’s done. A 3 time AS and several MVP votes.

        So, would I keep a good hitter as a hitter, at DH, to keep him healthy, where he can best benefit the team? I would.

        No cursing allowed here. Please watch your language in future comments.

  3. CFD3000

    I think a case can be made that any of five outfielders could have the best or second best year for the Reds in 2020. Castellanos, Winker, Senzel, Akiyama, and Aquino. And if you insisted on adding Ervin to that list you wouldn’t be completely crazy. There’s that much talent on the roster, and that’s exciting. I suspect that due to injury or just the numbers, two or three of those guys won’t get enough at bats to still be in the conversation by the trade deadline, but I expect a lot of good hitting from the first four on that list, with Aquino mostly biding his time in AAA. My prediction – Castellanos and Winker at or near all-star caliber seasons, Senzel just a bit behind, and Akiyama and Ervin in a 2+ WAR range. And Aquino will mash at AAA ready to fill in if someone is hurt or if (when?) Castellanos is gone in 2021.

    • sixpack

      Sorry about that. I saw five OF’s and I stopped there as I think that will be the Reds number. Ervin will be the Fifth. I hope/think there may be some trades next week.

    • Cubano

      From what I’ve seen this Spring, Winker has been looking really good. Would be nice to see him really break out.

      • TR

        Winker is a natural hitter. Let him hit from both sides until there’s enough evidence he can’t hit at least .250 against lefties.

      • earmbrister

        Cuba/TR —

        Agree wholeheartedly. An OF of Winker in LF, Senzel in CF, and Castellanos in RF (for now, if he doesn’t opt out) will absolutely rake for years to come. You don’t sell low on Winker and Senzel. Both are professional hitters and just need a healthy season to prove their worth.

  4. SultanofSwaff

    You don’t even have to squint to see that Senzel will be an above average hitter in the league for a long time. Even with the rust, he looked real good yesterday with both pitch recognition and hard contact. I certainly wouldn’t bench him in favor of a 31 year old from Japan with seemingly little power until Nick has a large enough sampling of hitting stats vs.left and right handed pitching. All that said, yes, the outfield depth is enviable while at the same time our only passable everyday SS just went down with a quad injury, exposing how little depth we have at that position. Sorry, but the situation just begs for Senzel to log some time on the infield. Remember, the difference between above average and average on the defensive spectrum is one extra out every two weeks.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      If he gets on base at the clip he did in Japan, I would have no problem starting Shogo and batting him leadoff. Power is needless on this team. Example data, last year we hit a lot more HR’s but we only scored 1 more run than the season before. Why? We had no one on base. We need all the OBP we can get.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      I do think Senzel can be a very good hitter. Most definitely. But, if he’s going to have to spend all this time to learn and prepare to play so many defensive positions, when is he going to be able to work on his hitting? I mean, even the best hitters in the world have to work on their craft sometime, more than just simple batting practice.

  5. My Beloved Reds

    I do think that Castellanos will have the best year of the Reds OFs in 2020. The numbers don’t lie on him and they don’t lie on Senzel. During his 4 minor league seasons, he produced a split of .312/.388/.508/.895. Additionally, if you project what he did in those four seasons over a 600 at bats season, he averaged about 100 runs, 195 hits and 50 doubles. While his power may never approach 30 HRs/yr, those are very impressive #s, especially if you take into account his health issues during his last minor league season of 2018, when he only had 171 ABs. The only thing that will keep him from being a perennial all star is his durability. Hopefully, his injuries are behind him and we can watch this young man put up big time #s in a Reds uniform for the next decade plus. In my opinion, he is currently untouchable. The Reds FO must agree or he would be an Indian and Lindor a Red. Reds Fans, show a little patience. If I recall, a young Votto had to take some time off with Vertigo and depression after his Father passed away. Is that correct?

    • sixpack

      Boy, I agree. Castellanos is a double machine. We have added a lot of fire power to go with the pitching.

  6. Rut

    Just a couple of thoughts… first, I do think the front office planned on making a trade with one or more of our OFs. There had to be some fire behind that smoke, as I do not believe they wanted a log jam like this. Small market teams just don’t work that way…

    Last point is about Senzel himself and Reds fans pessimistic outlook. Fwiw, I think the Jay Bruce experience made a lot of fans realize that plenty of “top prospects in the game” end up being average to good MLB players. The notion that any Red is a guaranteed can’t miss superstar has been proven wrong over the years, and it no doubt has impacted the psyche of Reds nation.

    I think Senzel will be a fine player, but do not expect another Alex Bregman. And I think too many folks will think Senzel is a bust if he does not approach Bregman’s stats, which is probably unfair, but goes with the territory.

    • RojoBenjy

      Bregman’s stats*

      *tainted by scandal

      I’ll take Lil Senzii all day any dayover that.

  7. Michael Smith

    I do not understand the where are we going to find ab’s for these guys. The top 4 outfielders will get ab’s.

    3 positions at 162 games means 121.5 starts (assuming no injuries which never happens). Toss in 9 DH games, say 10 1b starts being and option. That takes us to over 126 starts each.

    • Roger Garrett

      Should be that way but it won’t be.Both Nicks and Shogo play and a lot.If the Reds thought Wink, Ervin and the Punisher would get it done they would not have added the other two guys.Same way with JVM.He should have played every day at second last year after the break but didn’t so again they didn’t think he could and thus they sign Moose.Time will tell but nobody can convince me the 4 guys that won’t play much aren’t major leaguers.Sure would be nice if they could catch or play short.

    • Amarillo

      Someone is going to get hurt at some point. It’s just inevitable. Being able to pencil in a starting caliber player when that injury happens I am thrilled with. The Reds played 12 outfielders last year, finding decent playing time for 4-5 shouldn’t be that bad.

  8. Indy Red Man

    If Senzel is healthy then I’d rather have him then Winker. Winker gets hurt all the time himself and is about a D+ defender and baserunner. To my eye Winker’s production was misleading last year. He hit more HRs which kept his ops in the same area as 2018, but his batting average and obp were down dramatically. It seemed like he rarely shot the ball the other way like in the past when he was going well. If they dealt him then Ervin could platoon with Shogo.

    Bottom line they have plenty of options and thats not a bad thing. I know JVM was shaky in LF last year, but he can really hit and Aquino can lay off the bad breaking balls then look out!

    • Charles Lackey

      If I owned a MLB team I would want Winker on it. I sure wouldn’t give up on him, he is NOT a platoon player. Postponing at any position has never worked over the long haul. Reds have a fine array of outfielders but the Reds will find a way to mess it up. 2020 Season Coming Soon

  9. RojoBenjy

    I hope Senzel crushes it this year. Agree with Jeff the author—been a lot of odd takes on him this off-season, that out of nowhere suddenly discount him. I sure hope the FO doesn’t give him the Phil Ervin special treatment, and lets him play!

    I love the player and hope he brings much joy to our town.

  10. Justin

    It’s funny that we all clamor for a winning team but when we finally have some depth, everyone starts talking who we should trade away. Yes, in a world of no injuries, we have too many outfielders. Look at the Yankees! Turns out they needed 7 MLB quality starters to even start off the season, imagine how hard it will be on them when an early season injury pops up.

    As for Senzel, if he puts up numbers like he did before the swing change, he’s an all star. In part, because he plays centerfield. And he’ll get the proper number of at bats as well as rest due to our “outfield logjam”. When we roll into October healthy and everyone is zeroed in, we won’t mind too many outfielders. Silliness.

      • Ochoa30

        Luckily the front office seems to have much more of a clue then some of these fans. Nick Senzel is the starting CF if and when he gets healthy. Shogo was brought in because the Reds lack outfield defense and OBP in their line up and he’s is solid in those 2 categories specifically. There will be plenty of playing time to go around and guys will have to play well to get more time. That’s the way a good team operates. Reds fans obviously aren’t used to that but it’s time to change that failure line of thinking and understand that a good team needs depth and the Reds look to have that for the first time in a while. Can’t wait to see it all play out. Personally I believe Senzel will be one of the best player on the team before too long but he needs to prove he can stay healthy for a full season before that can happen. That’s why you bring in Shogo and others. Can’t just pray things go well. Have to plan for injuries and underperformance.

  11. AirborneJayJay

    Good thoughts Jeff. I too have not lost any gusto for Senzel. The problem with Senzel is the Reds have their best defensive 3B/2B playing a position other than 3B or 2B. He is playing out of position. He is not a CF. Repeat, Senzel is not a CF. Now he can play CF adequately no doubt, but that does not make him a CF.
    And this goes to the heart of the Reds 2020 Achilles Heel, too many players playing out of position. Galvis at SS instead of 2B. Moustakas at 2B instead of 3B. Senzel in CF instead of 2B, 3B or a corner OF spot. Winker in RF, he is a LF. Shogo in CF instead of a corner spot. Defensively this team is out of position and a hot mess. Offensively they should have some very good firepower.
    And to top it all off, Reds POBO Dick Williams was spouting off World Series expectations yesterday. A team that has had 6 straight losing seasons, no playoff series wins since 1990, and only 2 playoff game victories this century.
    And speaking of DW, Dick Williams Achilles Heel is very apparent too, roster construction. With the Reds as currently constructed, spouting off about World Series expectations this early in the pre-season is ludicrous and just plain stupid. It is one thing to think that. It is another to say it out loud in front of reporters.

    • SultanofSwaff

      Couldn’t agree more that defensively multiple guys are playing out of position. Moose looks really shaky, Winker should only play LF. But alluding to my previous comment, the difference is only an out every couple weeks basically. That’s the Red’s gamble here—take the bat over the glove and live with the consequences. Can’t say I disagree, but their messaging has been mixed depending on the player.

    • citizen54

      This team is going leak defensively like a sieve. Castellanos is a disaster in the outfield. Funny thing is people like to complain abut Winker’s defense and Castellanos is a lot worse defensively. That’s why he is projected to only provide anywhere between 1.1 and 1.9 WAR of value. Moustakas is a 3B who the Reds think they can just stick at 2B. I think the Reds are going to be disappointing this year.

      Going into the season the Reds weren’t sure what they had in Senzel, Winker, Aquino and Ervin so what do they do? They sign a bunch of average vets to so these young guys don’t really have a chance to develop. They kept Galvis when Jose Iglesias would have been a cheaper and better option. Williams he turned a top 10 farm system into a bottom 10 system with 1 year of Bauer to show for it. So far the only two good moves Williams has made are the trades for Gray and Roark.

    • greenmtred

      I’m not sure why you think that Senzel isn’t a centerfielder. Nobody is really born to play a particular position; they learn it, and based on innate skills (which are usually somewhat interchangeable between positions), plus what they learn, they become centerfielders, middle infielders, and so on. Senzel has excellent speed, seems to have a decent arm, and did pretty well for his first year at a new position. In the Reds’ minds, at least, he is a centerfielder until he proves otherwise. Also, I thought Galvis actually was a shortstop. If the Reds have poor defense this year, and they may, it seems likely that it will be due to their having alot of starters who aren’t good fielders, regardless of where they play.

    • earmbrister

      Air JJ —

      Senzel is a CFr. Repeat, Senzel is a CFr. He played there all of ONE SEASON and is already league average MLB defensively. The man is an uber athlete and his skills stand out in CF. Name a half dozen current MLB CFrs that are above average both offensively AND defensively. Senzel is that type of athlete. His skills are wasted in the infield, particularly at 2B. Second basemen are a dime a dozen: it’s easily the least important position on the field.

      As for your theory that too many Reds are playing out of position …

      Galvis has 6,600 innings at SS in MLB, and 900 innings at 2B.

      Moustakas has already made a successful transition to 2B (and he ain’t replacing Suarez at 3B).

      Senzel belongs in CF. Period.

      Winker will be in LF, what’s the issue?

      Shogo is the Reds fourth OFr. It’s not certain that he can man CF everyday in MLB. He doesn’t need to. He’s insurance for Senzel and can cover the corners as need be. At $ 7MM per, the Reds aren’t paying him to be a starting OFr.

      As for Dick Williams, good for him. He’s trying to jump start this organization, and to my eye, he’s doing a heckuva job. Let the Reds players, and the entire league know, that the Reds aren’t aiming to finish in second place. Or fourth place. It’s not like his words will make the opposition play harder. Maybe his own players will listen and start to believe.

    • LWblogger2

      Agree on some stuff. I think the Reds are playing guys out of position. I think they were looking at bats first gloves second. I think Senzel can be an average defender in CF but he’s an exceptional defender at 3B and is likely above average at 2B. Moose, given a whole season at 2B scares me. Galvis however is a very good SS and it is his “natural” position. Not worried about him at all there. In fact, only the aforementioned Moose at 2B makes me worry.

      Slight correlation. The Reds lost the 1995 NLCS to the Braves after beating the Dodgers in the NLDS that year. So, they have won a playoff series since 1990. They have not won one since 19o5 though.

  12. Dawson

    Thank you for this article. I agree!

  13. MK

    I could see a late ST trade cutting into the outfield surplus. The areas could really use a left handed arm in arm he bullpen andntherevareva couple teams needing outfield help (the Yankees for sure). Could that be an Ervin or even an Aquino? These things work out and so will this.

    A related thought I wonder if the quick change in hitting coaches had anything to do with Senzel. He came to big leagues, got off to a nice start then all of a sudden they were tinkering with his stance and set -up and he went down the tubes. He announced he was going back to his old way this year.

  14. Rayski

    Nah, the “prize” for a 98-loss season was the draft-pick, not the player. The question is whether a trade is shortsighted or not. Players are assets. Weighing the choice of whether to allow that asset time to grow or convert it to something w/short-term higher yield is a business decision the Reds would have been foolish not too consider. I personally, want Senzel to stay. However, I believe your approach to the argument is flawed. All teams seek *production* as a result from a high draft pick. Whether that comes from trade of said pick or development of the product is inconsequential.

  15. Satchmo

    Here’s how I see it shaking out:

    LF: Winker 75% of AB’s, Ervin 15% of AB’s, Shogo 10% of AB’s
    CF: Senzel 90% of AB’s, Shogo 10% of AB’s
    RF: Castellanos 90% of AB’s, Shogo 10% of AB’s

    Total:
    Senzel — 90%
    Castellanos — 90%
    Winker — 75%
    Shogo — 30% (+Whatever pinch hit and double switch AB’s he gets)
    Erving — 15%

  16. Big Ed

    I don’t believe that the Reds were “shopping” Nick Senzel. Instead, I believe that every single team that had a trade candidate (like Lindor or Seager) asked for Senzel. The Reds wisely said “No, thanks.”

    Playing time issues always work themselves out. Players get injured; some get very hot while others regress; older guys like Votto take more days off against lefties and power pitchers; etc. If Senzel produces, then he will play, and it is the same for the others.

    The days of guys playing 150+ games per season are over, or almost are. Votto won’t like it, but he’s gonna sit a lot more this year than he has before.

  17. centerfield

    Winker, Senzel, Castellanos – that is your regular outfield. Bell likes to rest players so Shogo and Ervin will receive playing time. Senzel hit the weights hard this winter and is going to display plenty of power. Winker can just flat out hit. The Reds are putting pressure on their players to perform or take a seat. Nothing wrong with that. I think Senzel compares favorably to Alex Bregman. Senzel will learn to play centerfield and be a superior defender, because he is driven. Pete Rose wasn’t much of an athlete, but he had the desire to be great. I’m actually more interested to see how Kyle Farmer does at SS…

    • Optimist

      Say what you will about Pete, but has West Hi beaten Elder since he lined up at RB? He was a great athlete.

  18. Optimist

    Doubtful that Nick S. is devalued so much as he and Winker are overlooked due to the lack of getting past 3/4 of a season.

    Let’s do some rough math. 162 games, 3 positions, 4+ PAs per game. 2000 total PAs to divide amongst 5 (or more) players.

    The 2 Nicks get 500 each. Jesse and Shogo 350/400, Ervin the rest – say 200-300.

    Now, add in some DL/injuries, and you get Aquino 150/200 – similar to last year, which becomes his test for next year’s roster spot or trade value. Perhaps add another 100-200 for DH and occasional infield play, and you have the Payton/Jankowski/OtherMiLB player.

    The roster looks set to absorb one major injury (i.e. season-ending), or two month-long DL spells. There’s clearly a Winker/Ervin platoon, and I expect a lot of Shogo for Nick C. late-inning defensive double switching.

    With Dick’s comments about playoff contention, what this season really should show is who will be the long-term pieces and who will be tradeable. Basically, setting up an age vs. performance standard.

    Still, this is the best offense they’ll put in the OF for quite some time.

    • MBS

      Why would you give 200 – 300 AB’s to Ervin, instead of Aquino? Ervin made sense when our outfield was set to be Winker LF Senzel CF, and Aquino RF. Aquino and Jankowski made a lot of sense being your 4 and 5. Now that we added Castellanos and Akiyama everyone wants to drop Aquino in favor of a player that requires a platoon situation to be a major leaguer. It makes zero sense, put up the best 26 players and win some games.

      • MBS

        Sorry meant to say “Ervin and JANKOWSKI made a lot of sense being your 4 and 5”

      • Amarillo

        Aquino has been terrible since August. His September was bad, he then stunk up winter ball, and now in spring training he is 1/17 with 7 strikeouts. Because Aquino has an option and Ervin doesn’t, you would probably need to release Ervin to put Aquino on the roster barring an injury. Honestly, Ervin has looked like the better player between September 1st and now.

      • Optimist

        Ervin is the platoon with Winker. He’s the 5th OFer.

        Aquino starts with the Bats to get all the ABs he can. Payton/Jankowski/Schebler(remember him?) and the rest are all in AAA, alas. Aquino can force a call-up like last year, or he is the first call up in event of long term DL injury.

        Payton and Jankowski seem like the call-ups for short stints.

        I doubt they’ll want Aquino riding the bench instead of playing time.

      • Matt WI

        Well there’s a reasonable case to be made that instead of Ervin needing to be platooned to be a major league player that Aquino may not have what it takes at all to be a consistent major league player. I hope that’s not true, but if push came to shove and something good was coming the Reds way, I’d trade Aquino yesterday for a proven commodity.

      • MBS

        @amarillo the option argument is weak. The Reds are all in on 2020, so options (or lack there of) for a 26th type player like Ervin is misguided to say the least. What happens if you lose Ervin… not a whole lot. What happens if you play Aquino, and he’s only 50% of what he was in his hot month. You’d have the 2nd best OF on the team.

      • Amarillo

        @ MBS I don’t really care that the Option argument is weak, it’s reality. You have 2 5th outfielders who aren’t going to play much, and you lose the one guy if you pick the other.
        Outside of that one miracle month, Aquino has been pretty bad his whole minor league career and since. If he plays like he is currently playing you release him and don’t think twice.

      • MBS

        @amarillo, that’s where we differ. You look at Aquino as a 5th OF. 16 season .273 BA .327 OBP with 23 HR’s, that would have been about age 21. The following season he got promoted to AA and couldn’t make the adjustment, and yes he followed that up with a 2nd season failing to meet expectations. 2019 in 78 games he smashes 29 HR’s with a .299 BA, and a .356 OBP. He gets promoted to the majors, and breaks the HR record for a rookie in a single month.

        What has Ervin done? He has turned into a fair platoon player. I like Ervin, but Ervin is no Aquino. Aquino could prove you right that he doesn’t deserve a MLB roster spot, but his upside dwarfs Ervins.

        Options are a reality, but a poor excuse not to field the most competitive team. This isn’t a rebuilding team, this is a team that is clearly going for it, and half measures will only keep them from being the best team they can be.

      • Amarillo

        @ MBS, Alright let’s put it this way…we know there are going to be injuries over the course of the season. It’s just going to happen. Let’s say for argument that Aquino is 5th on the depth chart and Ervin is 6th. We would need to put Ervin on waivers in order to keep Aquino. When that injury happens, I want to be able to bring up the high upside Aquino rather than the low upside Jankowski. I see the difference between Ervin and whoever is 7th on the depth chart as a pretty big gap. I guess you could put Van Meter in that spot? I’d also like to keep the high upside Aquino hot with regular at bats that he isn’t going to get in the Majors.

      • Optimist

        I’m with Amarillo on this – roster management controls, and Aquino has the option. Ideally, he’d be the 5th OFer and get 200-300 ABs, but that means he continues to develop, which doesn’t work if you truly contend for the post-season. Thus, Ervin gets the 5th spot, and is a fine 5th OFer, particularly with the platoon set-up.

        Jankowski and Payton are classic AAAA players, and have value in short stretches, but the Reds still need to determine if Aquino’s floor is high enough to keep him in MLB. I think it is, but they still have this year and the option to determine that.

        With all that, there are certainly transactions looming, particularly for Schebler and Payton.

      • MBS

        Not trying to make your argument stronger, but if Payton isn’t on the MLB roster all season he has to be offered back to the A’s. I also believe Jankowski is out of options. We just have fundamentally differing opinions in this case. I am over playing it safe, and looking toward the future mindset. I think when we parted ways with Gray, Downs, Long, and Trammell the Reds passed the lets be cautious approach. Then this season the shattered their record in FA contracts. It seems like “penny wise, pound foolish” type of a move.

      • Old-school

        Ervin v Aquino is a real debate. I was on the Aquino side and still am long term. But with Castellanos and Shogo and Winker and Senzel, assuming health, NEITHER Aquino or Ervin will play against righties- the majority of the time. I have grudgingly come to believe Aquino is best served playing every day in RF in AAA until the inevitable injury occurs and he is needed or he is an MVP AAA player again in late May. Ervin can be a platoon player against lefties and a righty bat off the bench.

        Also assume Castellanos leaves after 1 year and AA will be needed in 2021 in RF. He needs to play every day, at least early in 2020.

      • Big Ed

        Amarillo, it is not true that Aquino “has been pretty bad his whole minor league career and since,” or that he “stunk up winter ball,” where he had 43 ABs and struck out 6 times.

        In fact, Aquino at age 22 was the MVP of the Florida State League, and made the Southern League All-Star team at age 24 and the All-Star team last year at Louisville, where the “pretty bad” Aquino had an OPS of .992 for the season. He was the National League Player of the Month in August.

        Ervin, on the other hand, vastly under-performed Aquino at every level of the minor leagues. Ervin had good numbers last year against LH pitching in Cincinnati, based on a wholly unsustainable .413 BABIP. In the last two months of the season, Ervin had an OBP of lower than .280. Ervin is at best an average major league hitter, but only if used selectively, and he is a mediocre defender.

        Aquino certainly slumped in September, but he was playing a 6-month season for the first time, and played in every single Reds game after he got called up. He didn’t really get a chance to adjust to the pitchers’ adjustments to him. His upside far exceeds that of Ervin.

  19. MBS

    Senzel will have a nice 4 day vacation in mid July. I think he will be good, but not great.

  20. Hotto4Votto

    I’m sure someone said it at some point, because the internet, but really there was no one legitimately saying trade Senzel for one year of going for it. So that statement is a little sensationalized. A lot of talk surrounding Lindor and Seager but both are controlled 2 years. And both would be huge upgrades (and likely an upgrade over Senzel during those two seasons) at the SS position. When in a tight race those types of upgrades make a bigger difference than they would when teams aren’t as tightly jumbled. Plus with the way this team is constructed, the quality of players targeted, and the ETA Garcia it made tons of sense to explore those scenarios. In no way does that devalue Senzel, but instead shows how valuable he is by being able to be the main piece that brings back a difference maker.

  21. KDJ

    The handling of Lorenzen and Senzel by the Reds has been nauseating.

  22. Armo21

    What is the problem with how they handled Lorenzen? Senzel, I can understand to a point. But Lorenzen? He is a great athlete. He has a great arm and has performed well in the bullpen. Are you upset with the Reds for not getting him more at-bats or because he is not starting pitcher?

    • RojoBenjy

      Perhaps he means that Lorenzen was the answer to CF from the beginning but the Reds made him a pitcher? Or that he should have been a starter not reliever?

      Can’t go back and see if he would have had more value that way than he does now, so it’s hard to win the argument either way.

      However, if Lorenzen had developed into the answer in CF, then Senzel would have stayed in the dirt, and be the second baseman right now. The money used to sign Moose could have gone to use elsewhere.

      Could play the speculation game non-stop, but the fans got what the Reds gave us and we can’t change it.

      • TR

        Agree. It’s been an interesting offseason. Now let’s see how it all comes together hopefully with more wins than losses after a long season.

  23. Redleg Bob

    As the first couple of comments mentioned , leave Senzel alone and he’s your man. He was pretty solid last year until they started messing around with his swing. In five years, Senzel will be a proven stud and one of the better ballplayers in all of baseball. Just hope he’s still a Red then and we’re not three years removed from Lindor or Seager being a Red and we’re winning less than 70 games.

  24. ClevelandRedsFan

    The Reds can find 140+ starts for their top two outfielders. I’m going to guess that’s Senzel and Castellanos. Here’s the math:

    They have 4 outfielders that could start everyday: Senzel, Akiyama, Winker, Castellanos. If all play evenly, that’s 33% less playing time for each than if there were only 3. If all play evenly, that’s 108 starts for each outfielder.

    Here’s the breakdown. This assumes everyone is healthy which won’t happen. Also, you have two guys who can play CF, so that’s not an issue. 
    Outfield
    Castellanos: 108 starts in RF + 25 starts at first base + 10 more starts from Akiyama/Winker because he is better = 143 starts
    Senzel: 108 starts in CF + 22 starts at second base + 10 starts when Castellanos is playing 1B (splitting these with Akiyama/Winker) = 140 starts
    Winker: 108 starts in LF + 13 starts when Castellanos is playing 1B –  5 starts because Castellanos is better = 126 starts
    Akiyama: 108 starts in any OF spot + 12 starts when Castellanos is playing 1B – 5 starts because Castellanos is better = 125 starts

    Infield
    Votto: 137 starts at 1B (he’s older and will need more days off)
    Moose: 140 starts at 2B + 7 starts at 3B = 147 starts
    SS: Galvis: 155 starts
    3B: Suarez: 155 starts

  25. YCityJim

    Is there a metric for determining whether a player is actually injury prone or not?