Reds not ready to call up top prospect Senzel

Despite opening at 3B, club feels infielder needs more seasoning

April 16th, 2018

MILWAUKEE -- Nick Senzel is the Reds' top prospect, and there is a temporary opening at his natural position of third base while is on the disabled list with a fractured right thumb. But for now, Senzel remains at Triple-A Louisville.

The organization believes that Senzel -- ranked as its No. 1 prospect by MLB Pipeline and the No. 7 prospect in the Majors -- needs more time in the Minors to develop.

"The most important thing is to make sure we're all convinced that he is ready to be here and playing productively," Reds general manager Dick Williams said on Monday. "A lot goes into that. It's just making sure his confidence is in the right place and the approach we're seeing is right and he is doing it consistently. Bringing a guy like that up, you want him to come and stay. You want it to be more dictated by his performance and confidence as opposed to being dictated by the situation here."

In 10 games for Louisville, Senzel is batting .233/.283/.349 with one home run and one RBI. It's a slow start, although he did go 6-for-18 in his past four games. Louisville's scheduled game Monday at Buffalo was postponed by snow.

Suarez went on the DL April 9, and the Reds promoted to take his place on the roster. They have been starting veterans Cliff Pennington and Phil Gosselin at third base with Suarez out. Senzel, who played third base after being the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 Draft, was given time at shortstop in Spring Training and has mostly played second base for Louisville so he could learn other positions with Suarez a fixture at the hot corner following his recently signed seven-year, $66 million contract.

"We asked a lot of [Senzel] by having him play a lot of shortstop in spring," Williams said. "Then he went to Triple-A and played second base every day. The injury happened [to Suarez], and Blandino had been playing third and performed the year before at Triple-A and was performing well in the spring. It was a more natural move for him to come up. He was playing there every day at the time."

It also has been speculated that the Reds were holding off on promoting Senzel for service-time reasons. Teams that keep prospects in the Minors for at least the first 13 games of the season could get an extra year of club control before arbitration and, eventually, free agency. That time has now passed, however.

"It hasn't been in our decision," Williams said. "All we've talked about is whether we feel it's the right time and right situation to bring [Senzel] into, and if he's accomplished the right things. We want him to be more than ready when he gets here, if that's at all possible."

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