CINCINNATI -- Reds top prospect Nick Senzel isn't waiting until his first big league Spring Training to learn the new positions he's already been told he'll play. Senzel is spending time at home in Knoxville and college alma mater, Tennessee, getting prepared.
Senzel, a third baseman, will get chances at second base and shortstop along with both corner-outfield spots. Although he's played the other infield positions in either high school or college, he's never played in the outfield.
"I've already started to try and get an early head start on it," Senzel said during Redsfest. "It feels good. I'm trying to learn the basic stuff right now."
Ranked No. 1 in the organization by MLBPipeline.com, the 22-year-old Senzel is also listed as the eighth-best prospect in baseball. Currently, Cincinnati is happy with the performance of Eugenio Suarez at third base. The club believes Senzel is athletic enough to play other places on the field.
"When opportunities and challenges present themselves, especially on the baseball field, they're exciting," Senzel said. "It's some different positions I've never played before, especially left and right field. It could create some opportunity for me. I'm just going to go out there and try to get some guidance from people who know what they're talking about and play it to the best of my ability."
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The Reds have players at the other positions, as well. Scooter Gennett had a breakout 2017 and became the everyday second baseman, and Jose Peraza has the inside track to replace free agent Zack Cozart at shortstop. Former All-Star Adam Duvall is in left field and Scott Schebler is in right. Both Duvall and Schebler hit 30 home runs last season.
"It's a good problem to have, getting to that point where we have a lot of good players and we don't have enough at-bats for all of them to be everyday players. That's a good thing," Reds manager Bryan Price said.
He is looking forward to his first extended look at Senzel in camp. Price recalled speaking with Reds special assistant and Hall of Famer Barry Larkin last spring about Senzel.
"[Larkin] said if need be, he could play shortstop at the big league level. I want him to help our ballclub, but I also want him to do it at a position where he's comfortable doing what he does," Price said. "I need to build up a stronger familiarity with him to create my own opinions of where he's best suited or if he is a multi-positional asset to our club."
Senzel batted .321/.391/.514 with 14 home runs and 65 RBIs in 119 games combined last season at Class A Advanced Daytona and Double-A Pensacola. He missed a few games in the final week of the season while being treated for vertigo, but said the problem is now under control.
It appears likely that Senzel will begin the 2018 season at Triple-A Louisville. However, he's going into spring with higher expectations and wants to make the big league team out of camp.
"That's for sure, that's the goal," Senzel said. "You get invited to big league camp and you feel like you have an opportunity to make the team. I do want to make the team out of camp. That's my goal. Why should it not be? I feel like I've put myself in a pretty good position, and the work I've put in to be in that position. I'm going to continue to keep trying to work."