Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
The Official Site of the Cincinnati Reds
news

Reds Pipeline

Senzel expected to compete for starting CF gig

Bell, on Reds top prospect's transition from infield: 'It's very possible'
MLB.com

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- As the Reds consider their regular center-fielder options, they are not just humoring career infielder Nick Senzel by letting him compete for the spot. Senzel believes he can do it. Perhaps more importantly, so does new manager David Bell.

Bell was at the Reds' spring complex during the offseason and saw Senzel, Cincinnati's No. 1-ranked prospect per MLB Pipeline, taking fly balls and performing other drills.

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- As the Reds consider their regular center-fielder options, they are not just humoring career infielder Nick Senzel by letting him compete for the spot. Senzel believes he can do it. Perhaps more importantly, so does new manager David Bell.

Bell was at the Reds' spring complex during the offseason and saw Senzel, Cincinnati's No. 1-ranked prospect per MLB Pipeline, taking fly balls and performing other drills.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"Having never seen him on the field, my first impression was, 'This guy can really move. He's an athlete. This is more than possible,'" Bell said. "Not to say it's easy. The transition he'll have to make to become a regular center fielder, it's going to take a lot of work, a lot of dedication. But just the way he reacted, the way he moves, his athleticism, led me to believe it's very possible."

Throughout the offseason in Arizona, Senzel worked with roving instructor and former Reds great Eric Davis to learn the ins and outs of the position. He'll continue to work with Davis and outfield coach Jeff Pickler in Spring Training.

"They've made it as simple as possible for me," Senzel said. "Run, catch the ball and throw it in. That's about it. It's fun learning a new position. I'm just excited to get to work, start games and see how I go out there."

Video: Bell on Senzel, centerfield position open

Senzel, 23, was a third baseman when he was drafted No. 2 overall by the Reds in 2016. He was given a chance at shortstop last spring, more just to learn the position, and then played second base for Triple-A Louisville. But he's currently blocked by veterans, with Eugenio Suarez at third and Scooter Gennett at second.

When former center fielder Billy Hamilton was non-tendered, Senzel immediately saw the opportunity to compete. After the Reds did not acquire a natural center fielder in the offseason, Senzel became an in-house candidate along with corner outfielders Scott Schebler and Yasiel Puig.

Now Senzel, a non-roster player in camp, is learning a position and competing for it at the same time.

"I'm just learning it every day, making sure I'm fresh and not overworking," Senzel said. "It seems a little more real because I can break camp with this club. Last year, there really wasn't a shot. I know this year that if I go out and play ball, and do what I know how to do, show that I'm healthy and stuff, there's a legitimate chance that I can start day one here and help this club win games."

Video: Top Prospects: Nick Senzel, 3B, Reds

Being healthy is no small concern since Senzel was limited to 44 games with Louisville in 2018. He missed time with vertigo in May, and a fractured right index finger in June required season-ending surgery. During instructional league in mid-October, there was another surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow.

The finger and elbow are healed completely. Senzel has been symptom-free of vertigo after undergoing rehab similar to that of a concussion.

"I just have some exercises that I do at home here and there. I don't ever really think about that anymore," he said.

If Senzel succeeds, the Reds would have to weigh bringing him up versus keeping him in Triple-A a few weeks so as not to start his service-time clock -- thus buying an extra season of club control before free agency.

"I anticipate putting the best team out there that we can," said Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams. "We want to get off to a good start, and we'll try to put the best team on the field."

With Senzel in center field, the Reds would have found a solution for their best prospect. But it would create a log jam for players like Schebler or corner outfielder Matt Kemp to get at-bats. If Senzel isn't ready for center field, Bell could use him in a utility role.

"[We're] letting him get the majority of his work and really focusing on being the center fielder, and give him every chance that way," Bell said. "He's played enough infield that we're confident he can go back to that if things change; we can make that work. For now, we're really in the mindset to give him his best chance, just make his priority center field."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds, Nick Senzel

Inbox: Are more pitching moves on horizon?

Beat reporter Mark Sheldon answers Reds fans' questions
MLB.com

With the addition of Sonny Gray, do you feel the Reds are happy with the starting pitching? Or will they try to add another arm?
-- Mark H., Harrison, Ohio

I would be a little surprised at this point if the Reds spend big money or dealt big prospects to add another starting pitcher. They managed a tough bit of tap dancing in trading for three starting pitchers in Gray, Tanner Roark and Alex Wood along with outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp without having to give up elite prospects like Nick Senzel, Taylor Trammell or Hunter Greene. And they were even able to unload Homer Bailey and the $28 million left on his contract in the process. If Cincinnati does add more pitching, I expect it might be a smaller deal for a starter or reliever on an inexpensive one-year big league contract or a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training.

With the addition of Sonny Gray, do you feel the Reds are happy with the starting pitching? Or will they try to add another arm?
-- Mark H., Harrison, Ohio

I would be a little surprised at this point if the Reds spend big money or dealt big prospects to add another starting pitcher. They managed a tough bit of tap dancing in trading for three starting pitchers in Gray, Tanner Roark and Alex Wood along with outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp without having to give up elite prospects like Nick Senzel, Taylor Trammell or Hunter Greene. And they were even able to unload Homer Bailey and the $28 million left on his contract in the process. If Cincinnati does add more pitching, I expect it might be a smaller deal for a starter or reliever on an inexpensive one-year big league contract or a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training.

Video: Williams, Krall on Reds' trade for Sonny Gray

Since the addition of Gray, are the Reds done adding to the roster this offseason? Rotation looks set, but center field?
-- @hunterbivens14

President of baseball operations Dick Williams said the Reds are not done trying to add. Williams and general manager Nick Krall remain in contact with agents and clubs. A familiar buzzword Williams used was "opportunistic" when it comes to looking for more moves. Now that A.J. Pollock has agreed to a contract with the Dodgers, most of the free-agent options remaining for center field would appear to be short-term solutions. Someone like Denard Span could hold down the fort until Senzel or Jose Siri are ready to do it full time. The club could also just turn to Senzel immediately, or give Scott Schebler or Puig time there, even if they're better as corner outfielders.

:: Submit a question to the Reds Inbox ::

Which Reds pitchers are out of options?
-- @Redsaholic2020

I believe it's Robert Stephenson, Amir Garrett and Matt Wisler. The really interesting one there is Stephenson, a former first-round Draft pick and longtime prospect. It's a crowded field for the fifth spot in the rotation, and he has yet to show he belongs in the big leagues for good.

Video: Amir Garrett is optimistic for Reds in 2019

With Gray, Wood, Luis Castillo and Roark in the projected rotation, where do Anthony DeSclafani, Tyler Mahle, Sal Romano, etc., fit in the Reds' pitching plans?
-- Keith G., Piqua, Ohio

Good question. They -- and potentially Michael Lorenzen and Stephenson -- will be among those seeking the fifth spot. Manager David Bell and pitching coach Derek Johnson have played their plans close to the vest up to this point. Anyone who doesn't make the rotation could fill bullpen roles, especially Lorenzen and Romano. It's harder to envision DeSclafani as a reliever, but it can't be ruled out.

With several new players on the team with a final year of control or contracts set to expire at the end of the season, will the Reds deal at the non-waiver Trade Deadline or ride them out if they have a .500 or better record?
-- @lfthandd22

If the team is contending in the National League Central or for an NL Wild Card spot, I'd be surprised if they moved soon-to-be free agents unless it meant improving the club or addressing a need. If the team is out of contention, I would imagine all of those players -- like Puig, Kemp, Roark, Wood and Scooter Gennett -- could be trade chips. Not being under contract beyond the 2019 season could make them more attractive to suitors seeking short-term upgrades for the stretch run.

Why don't the Reds bring up Trammell to play center field? He looks like he's ready.
-- Brian H., Nicholasville, Ky.

Trammell, the Reds' No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, has talent and a lot of tools, but he's far from ready. Remember, he was with Class A Advanced Daytona for all of 2018. The earliest I would count on Trammell having a chance for a big league callup is closer to the end of '20.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds, Robert Stephenson, Taylor Trammell

Garrett inspires youth at Dream Series camp

Reds lefty praises opportunity provided at MLK weekend event
MLB.com

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Amir Garrett spent Friday morning grinding at the Reds' Spring Training complex in Goodyear.

Camp starts next month, and the left-hander wants to be ready when pitchers and catchers report in a few weeks. He's either going to start or pitch out of the bullpen this season, and he's fine doing either job. He's just as confident that his team is going to surprise the doubters this year. Plus, there's a new manager and pitching coach in Cincinnati to impress.

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Amir Garrett spent Friday morning grinding at the Reds' Spring Training complex in Goodyear.

Camp starts next month, and the left-hander wants to be ready when pitchers and catchers report in a few weeks. He's either going to start or pitch out of the bullpen this season, and he's fine doing either job. He's just as confident that his team is going to surprise the doubters this year. Plus, there's a new manager and pitching coach in Cincinnati to impress.

But the lefty's biggest delivery of the day came during his lunch break, 30 miles east of the club's complex and nowhere near a mound. The pitch was perfect.

"This is it, guys. You are very fortunate. Take in this experience," Garrett said to the 60 participants at this year's Dream Series. "Remember what this looks like, what this smells like, and how this feels. You might be at a Spring Training clubhouse now, but this is the big leagues, and let me tell you this, there is nothing better than being in the Major Leagues and being a Major League player."

The Dream Series, which runs in connection with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, is designed to develop pitchers and catchers for a future in baseball and diversify the future talent pool. The event continues through Monday at Tempe Diablo Stadium, the Spring Training home of the Angels.

In addition to on-field training with former Major League players, the camp includes daily presentations from people like Garrett, former Major Leaguers, scouts, college administrators and MLB umpires. The event also features information on baseball career opportunities at the collegiate and professional level.

"I think any time you can connect the dots and have kids identify with guys close to their age, instead of me, who is 100 years old, and that's a good thing," said former MLB manager Jerry Manuel, who is serving as an instructor. "Here is somebody who's their age and saying, 'Hey, this is a good sport to be in, it's cool, there's longevity.' It's just rewarding that you have these types of guys that want to speak baseball life into guys that think they have a chance to play."

Garrett shared the ups and downs that came with his unusual path to the big leagues during his 30-minute chat. He elaborated on the experience of being a two-sport star -- baseball and basketball -- in high school and the responsibility that comes with being an elite athlete at an early age. But most of all, he implored the teens to take advantage of the opportunities in front of them.

"I didn't really have this when I was younger playing baseball, but I just feel like it's a good thing for kids," Garrett said. "They get to be out here playing baseball, and they get to know the game from a lot of guys that played it at the highest level for many years. It's a good thing. They just have to take that knowledge and run with it."

Video: Amir Garrett is optimistic for Reds in 2019

The first day of workouts began with high-tech assessments through Prospect Development Pipeline screenings. A few hours later, the pitchers threw bullpens, practiced pickoffs and participated in fielding drills. The groups of catchers worked on defensive drills and conditioning.

"Being around big leaguers, I think it's really fun and very helpful," said right-handed pitcher Evan Adolphus, a senior who has committed to Cal State Fullerton. "You get to pick their brain on certain things. If we have issues on certain pitches and certain mechanics, they can fix that, when it's not the same as high school coaches teaching it."

Garrett spoke during the lunch hour. The teens wrapped up the first day by hitting in the cages and on the main field.

"We had a great first day and there was a lot of good things we saw," said Del Matthews, MLB's senior director for baseball development. "To have [Garrett] here, someone that's been a pitcher in the big leagues for a couple of years now and someone that's doing it, it makes it all that more special. It's about sharing information and best practices and motivation and inspiration -- all in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr., MLK weekend. That's what it's about. It's about fulfilling the dream."

Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.

Cincinnati Reds, Amir Garrett

Reds prospects lend a hand at Youth Academy

Special to MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- Four Reds prospects paid a visit to the P&G MLB Cincinnati Reds Youth Academy to assist with drills and field questions on the eve of the Reds Caravan sendoff.

Brantley Bell, Stuart Fairchild, Tyler Stephenson and Taylor Trammell spent Wednesday evening tossing batting practice to members of the 14U RBI softball team and assisting and instructing softball players ages 14-18 with some advanced work on defense.

CINCINNATI -- Four Reds prospects paid a visit to the P&G MLB Cincinnati Reds Youth Academy to assist with drills and field questions on the eve of the Reds Caravan sendoff.

Brantley Bell, Stuart Fairchild, Tyler Stephenson and Taylor Trammell spent Wednesday evening tossing batting practice to members of the 14U RBI softball team and assisting and instructing softball players ages 14-18 with some advanced work on defense.

Stephenson and Trammell were familiar with the Roselawn-based Academy, but for first-timers Bell and Fairchild, the venue did not disappoint.

"My first thought walking through these doors was that I would love to take some batting practice in here," Bell said. "It doesn't get much better than this. I don't think even Major League fields have this kind of stuff, so they've really done it right here."

The players met with a group of the girls for a Q&A before stretching out and getting to work on the field. They shared stories of being selected in the MLB Draft, when their love of the game first started, what life is like on the road and much more.

"This is such a crucial time," Stephenson said. "I feel the ages of 10-14 are the most important times where a kid will learn whether they love or hate a sport. The more a coach can do for a kid to show that they care goes further than anything else."

Whether in Cincinnati, their hometowns or wherever they may be playing, the Reds players have made it a point to get out and be visible and available to kids in the community.

"It's such a cool opportunity to give back," Fairchild said. "Thinking back on all the coaches when I was growing up who contributed to my career and helped get me to where I am right now, just to have a tiny influence on these kids is huge."

When it comes to sharing advice with aspiring baseball and softball players, they each emphasized the same thing.

"Enjoy the game," Trammell said. "I can't stress that enough. You can't be good at a game and be the best person you can be at anything you're doing if you don't love it."

All four players hopped on a bus Thursday morning and began their four-day tour through Reds Country on separate legs of the annual Reds Caravan. For Bell and Fairchild, this is their first Caravan experience, while Trammell and Stephenson are returning for a second year. Bell is a part of the north leg, Fairchild is on the east, Stephenson is heading west, and Trammell is going south -- on the Marty Brennaman-proclaimed "Rock Star Tour" -- as the fans await at every stop.

"I love how we get to go out and see them," Trammell said. "We get more out of it than they do, because we get to see how they react to us. We just throw a ball and hit a ball and everyone makes us feel so good about ourselves, so it's amazing to be able to give back."

Brendan Hader is a contributor to MLB.com.

Cincinnati Reds

Here's why a 3-team Kluber deal could happen

Breaking down report of potential trade between Tribe, Reds, Padres
MLB.com

The Reds need a starting pitcher. The Padres are looking for a third baseman. The Indians would like to add outfielders. Could there be a match that would help all three clubs?

The Athletic reported on Monday that the Padres had explored a potential three-team trade between the clubs that would send ace starter Corey Kluber from Cleveland to Cincinnati, with Reds top prospect and infielder Nick Senzel going to San Diego. It was not reported who the Indians might acquire, although the team needs outfielders, which the Padres have to deal.

The Reds need a starting pitcher. The Padres are looking for a third baseman. The Indians would like to add outfielders. Could there be a match that would help all three clubs?

The Athletic reported on Monday that the Padres had explored a potential three-team trade between the clubs that would send ace starter Corey Kluber from Cleveland to Cincinnati, with Reds top prospect and infielder Nick Senzel going to San Diego. It was not reported who the Indians might acquire, although the team needs outfielders, which the Padres have to deal.

The report noted that no deal was close to being finalized.

Why the trade could work
The Reds, who have been trying to overhaul their rotation all offseason, already acquired starters Tanner Roark and Alex Wood in trades. Both are solid middle-of-the-rotation pieces, but Cincinnati could still use someone for the top of the starting five. Enter Kluber, the two-time American League Cy Young Award winner and the kind of frontline starter the Reds haven't had since dealing Johnny Cueto in 2015. The club, which has space with an increased payroll, has been linked to Kluber in various rumors throughout the Hot Stove season.

Kluber, 32, has one guaranteed year left on his contract, with club options for 2020 and '21. If both options are picked up, the total outlay for his services would be $52.5 million. It's a lot of money for a small-market club, but it's also not a risky long-term contract that would hamstring the Reds for the future.

Video: Tribe, Padres, Reds exploring 3-team deal for Kluber?

Senzel, who is ranked as the Reds' No. 1 prospect (No. 6 overall) by MLB Pipeline, is a natural third baseman and can also play second base and the outfield. He is currently blocked from a starting spot in the infield by third baseman Eugenio Suarez and second baseman Scooter Gennett, but he will be competing for the opening in center field.

The Indians and Padres have had a good working relationship, with their last transaction coming in July when Cleveland acquired relievers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber. The Tribe is looking for young outfielders who are cost-controlled and can make an impact in 2019 and beyond. Last month, the Indians were linked to San Diego outfielders Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe, both of whom check the majority of the Indians' boxes.

Margot, 24, is under team control through 2022, while Renfroe, 26, wouldn't be a free agent until after the '23 season. Margot is a right-handed-hitting center fielder who slashed .245/.292/.384 with 26 doubles, eight triples, eight homers and 51 RBIs in 2018. Renfroe, a corner outfielder, could bring some much-needed power to the Indians' lineup after hitting .248 with 26 homers and 68 RBIs last season.

Video: Indians might not trade Kluber or Bauer

The Padres have a glut of outfielders, with Wil Myers, Franmil Reyes, Franchy Cordero and Travis Jankowski also on board. They can afford to lose one or both of Renfroe and Margot -- if it means acquiring a third baseman. Right now, unheralded rookie Ty France is slated to start for the Padres at third, though that's likely to change in the coming weeks.

The Indians could also take a look at the Reds, who have plenty of corner-outfield options. Recently acquired Matt Kemp is coming off an All-Star season, hitting .290 with 21 home runs and 85 RBIs. Although Kemp could give the Tribe another option in both the outfield and as a designated hitter, the Indians may prefer younger, cost-controlled talent. The 34-year-old is owed $21.75 million in 2019, though a portion of the Dodgers' $7 million that was sent to the Reds in last month's blockbuster deal will help pay that salary. But the team already has shed roughly $20 million from the payroll and also would be dealing away Kluber's $17 million, so it could be an option.

Why the trade might not work
Because of Senzel's near Major League-ready skills that include an advanced hitting approach, the Reds would likely be apprehensive about moving him. For the Padres, they will probably take a long look at his medical files as Senzel was limited to 44 games at Triple-A last season because of a bout with vertigo in May and a fractured right index finger in June that required season-ending surgery. During instructional league in the fall, he had to stop playing to have bone chips removed from his left elbow.

The Indians may decide they just don't need to deal Kluber, a rotation anchor for three straight postseason teams. The main reason his name came up in the first place was a perceived need to cut costs, and they've already done that this winter -- shedding about $20 million in dealing Edwin Encarnacion, Yonder Alonso and Yan Gomes. Because of this, the Tribe could simply keep its rotation intact. Cleveland has been listening to potential offers for both Kluber and Trevor Bauer throughout the offseason, but it has a specific return in mind that clearly has yet to be met. In order to part ways with its ace, the club would have to receive enough talent to meet the high bar it has set for Kluber.

Video: Cassavell on the Padres' search for a starter

A trade could still happen, but maybe not with the Reds. Another option for both the Padres and the Indians would be giving the Yankees a call to see where they stand on Miguel Andujar. With the Padres looking for a third baseman, the 23-year-old Andujar, who finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year Award voting, may be another option. The Yankees are still looking to deal Sonny Gray, and with CC Sabathia's recent heart procedure and ongoing troubles with his right knee, it would seem logical that New York would be interested in adding another arm, especially of Kluber's caliber. The Yankees also have outfielders Clint Frazier and Aaron Hicks or reliever Chad Green who could be of interest to the Indians.

Mandy Bell covers the Indians for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MandyBell02.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, San Diego Padres, Corey Kluber, Nick Senzel

Long aims to be ready for life in big leagues

Reds 2B prospect takes part in rookie program for off-field lessons
MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- Many times since the inception of the annual Rookie Career Development Program in 1992, participants have gone on to play in the Major Leagues. But it's one thing to get there, and quite another to stay and have a good career.

Reds second-base prospect Shed Long certainly learned some things that he hopes can improve -- and extend -- his career.

CINCINNATI -- Many times since the inception of the annual Rookie Career Development Program in 1992, participants have gone on to play in the Major Leagues. But it's one thing to get there, and quite another to stay and have a good career.

Reds second-base prospect Shed Long certainly learned some things that he hopes can improve -- and extend -- his career.

"You really cover the whole nine yards of what's going to happen or what to expect when you get to the big leagues," Long told MLB Pipeline recently. "But some of that stuff is happening right now in the Minor Leagues."

The RCDP doesn't focus on improving baseball skills on the field. Instead, it benefits players like Long off the field, so they can focus more on their game.

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association combine forces to run the RCDP. This year's program was staged in Miami, and among the topics covered was dealing with the media, how to handle situations in the clubhouse, drugs in baseball, inclusion and financial planning.

"It's been a great program. I've learned a lot. I'm definitely in a better spot now than when I got here," said Long, who is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Reds' No. 7 prospect.

Long, 23, appears to be knocking on the door to get a shot at baseball's highest level. He was added to Cincinnati's 40-man roster following the 2017 season and went to his first big league Spring Training last year.

At Double-A Pensacola, Long batted .261/.353/.412 with 12 home runs and 56 RBIs in 126 games. It seems likely that he will begin 2019 with Triple-A Louisville.

"I had a few inconsistencies with my bat throughout the season," Long said. "It's not always going to be good, but it wasn't as good as I wanted it to be. Overall, it was a pretty good year. Defensively I made a lot of improvements, and I'm still working to continue to make improvements. I really want to focus offensively this year just to be more consistent than last year."

Long was tabbed to play in the Arizona Fall League after the season. Even though he didn't post superlative numbers, he was using the time to tinker with his swing and make modifications.

"It was huge. It helped me to figure out myself more too," Long said. "There were a couple of adjustments, hitting-wise, that I made that came from me watching video alone and trying things out.

"Sometimes, you have to be uncomfortable. But you never know what's going to work unless you try it."

Drafted as a catcher on the 12th round in 2013, Long later converted to second base. A left-handed hitter with power, he can also hit to all fields. Defensively over the past two seasons, he's been ranked high by the managers in the Southern League and the Florida State League.

All of this for a player who stands at 5-foot-8 and has drawn comparisons to diminutive comedian Kevin Hart because of his size. That's no worry for Long, who lets his play stand tall for him.

"For sure. There's definitely a chip on my shoulder about that, always being the smaller guy," Long said. "I'm usually the smallest guy on the team anywhere I'm playing at. That doesn't hold me back. It really just makes me go harder."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds, Shed Long

Reds' top 2 prospects among non-roster invites

Senzel to compete for roster spot; Trammell headed to first MLB camp
MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- The Reds will have their top two prospects among the non-roster invitations to big league Spring Training next month.

Infielder/outfielder Nick Senzel and outfielder Taylor Trammell were two of the 18 non-roster invites announced by the club on Wednesday. MLB Pipeline ranks Senzel No. 1 in the organization (No. 6 in baseball) and Trammell No. 2 (No. 17 overall).

CINCINNATI -- The Reds will have their top two prospects among the non-roster invitations to big league Spring Training next month.

Infielder/outfielder Nick Senzel and outfielder Taylor Trammell were two of the 18 non-roster invites announced by the club on Wednesday. MLB Pipeline ranks Senzel No. 1 in the organization (No. 6 in baseball) and Trammell No. 2 (No. 17 overall).

Senzel, who will be in big league camp for the second time, will be competing for a spot on the Opening Day roster. There is an opening in center field that he would like to get, but he could also earn a place in a utility role that allows him to still play regularly.

This will be Trammell's first big league camp.

Video: Reds prospect Taylor Trammell on the Fall League

Also invited to camp were right-handers Anthony Bass, Odrisamer Despaigne, Vladimir Gutierrez, Alex Powers and Tony Santillan, catchers Juan Graterol, Chris Okey and Tyler Stephenson, infielders Christian Colon and Alfredo Rodriguez, and outfielders Aristides Aquino, TJ Friedl, Brian O'Grady, Jordan Patterson, Mason Williams and Kyle Wren.

Bass, Despaigne, Graterol and Colon have big league experience with other clubs and signed Minor League contracts that came with camp invites.

Minor League coaching staffs named
The Reds' Minor League affiliates announced their managers and coaching staffs on Wednesday. At Triple-A Louisville, Jody Davis will manage the team for the first time with pitching coach Jeff Fassero, hitting coach Leon Durham and bench coach Dick Schofield. Davis was manager at Double-A Pensacola last season. Schofield, who was the interim manager last season, returns to his previous role.

Tweet from @LouisvilleBats: BREAKING: Jody Davis Named 2019 Louisville Bats Manager Full Details on Coaching Staff ������ https://t.co/FFaNaQgptt pic.twitter.com/NxczY8HQtU

For Double-A Chattanooga, Pat Kelly will be manager with Danny Darwin at pitching coach, Daryle Ward as hitting coach and Darren Bragg as the bench coach. Last season, Kelly served as the Reds' interim bench coach and Darwin was their pitching coach under interim manager Jim Riggleman. Although most of the big league coaching staff was not retained, both Kelly and Darwin were promised they would have roles back in player development.

Tweet from @ChattLookouts: 🚨BREAKING🚨 Pat Kelly named #Lookouts 2019 Manager. Kelly returns to Chattanooga after managing the Lookouts from 1993 to 1994. 2019 Field Staff (L->R)Manager - Pat KellyP.C. - Danny DarwinH.C. - Daryle WardB.C. - Darren Bragg#RedsCountry Read ������https://t.co/6VYSuILvQm pic.twitter.com/kq9DlNeKWn

Here are the field staffs for the other Reds affiliates:

Class A Advanced Daytona
Manager: Ricky Gutierrez
Pitching coach: Tom Brown
Hitting coach: Alex Pelaez
Bench coach: Lenny Harris

Tweet from @daytonatortugas: ANNOUNCED: Here is your 2019 Daytona Tortugas Coaching Staff headlined by 2018 Florida State League North Division Champion Manager, Ricky Gutierrez! #DefendTheJack #KingsOfTheNorth 🔗: https://t.co/7gjAQkBqPC pic.twitter.com/99SwVJJDhD

Class A Dayton Dragons
Manager: Luis Bolivar
Pitching coach: Seth Etherton
Hitting coach: Mike Devereaux
Bench coach: Kevin Mahar

Tweet from @DragonsBaseball: Here is your 2019 Dayton Dragons coaching staff! Luis Bolivar - ManagerSeth Etherton - Pitching CoachMike Devereaux - Hitting CoachKevin Mahar - Bench CoachGet to know the coaches at https://t.co/9kiAChXGfN pic.twitter.com/1D7YtXsom6

Rookie-level Billings
Manager: Ray Martinez
Pitching coach: Chris Booker
Hitting coach: Darryl Brinkley
Bench coach: Bryan LaHair

Tweet from @Mustangs: The @Reds name 2019 Mustangs Coaching Staff, Martinez returns for his 4th season. https://t.co/XpltfKjt2a via @milb pic.twitter.com/FYdmwJePbG

Rookie-level Greeneville
Manager: Gookie Dawkins
Pitching coach: Derin Ebert
Hitting coach: Luis Terrero
Bench coach: Reggie Williams

Tweet from @greenevillereds: Greeneville Reds fans, Please help us in welcoming our 2019 Field Staff! We are very excited to have Gookie Dawkins and Reggie Williams returning for their second year in Greeneville.https://t.co/k4Au8wYuS4 pic.twitter.com/1BgDO7WRyb

Dominican Summer League Reds
Manager: Luis Saturria
Pitching coach: Luis Montano
Pitching coach: Luis Andujar
Coach: Cristobal Rodriguez
Coach: Jose Castro
Coach: Jefry Sierra
Coach: Edward Bens

Arizona League Reds
Manager/extended spring coordinator: Jose Nieves
Pitching coach: Elmer Dessens
Hitting coach: Todd Takayoshi
Bench coach: Donald Lutz

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds, Nick Senzel, Taylor Trammell

Greene gives back with free Compton clinic

Reds prospect returns to MLB Youth Academy for Baseball Fest
MLB.com

COMPTON, Calif. -- Reds prospect Hunter Greene began playing organized baseball at the MLB Youth Academy in Compton when he was 7 years old. He's been giving back to his community for nearly as long.

According to Henry Brandon, who helped coach Greene's youth travel team, it's always been in Greene's nature to help others. For instance, when Greene was 12 years old, he could often be found helping the 10-year-old ballplayers with their drills, offering whatever insight and guidance he could.

COMPTON, Calif. -- Reds prospect Hunter Greene began playing organized baseball at the MLB Youth Academy in Compton when he was 7 years old. He's been giving back to his community for nearly as long.

According to Henry Brandon, who helped coach Greene's youth travel team, it's always been in Greene's nature to help others. For instance, when Greene was 12 years old, he could often be found helping the 10-year-old ballplayers with their drills, offering whatever insight and guidance he could.

That spirit of giving is what inspired the second annual Hunter Greene Baseball Fest. Nearly 150 campers, from 8 to 14 years old, gathered on Sunday afternoon to take part in a free clinic hosted by Greene at the field of his youth. Participants received catching, pitching, hitting and baserunning instruction from an assortment of coaches and players, including several former and current professionals.

In addition to the drills and instruction, the clinic featured throwing and hitting skills competitions, from which five winners were selected to join Greene on a $500 shopping spree at Adidas. Those winners also received special gloves designed as a collaboration between Greene and Steelo Sports, a company that describes itself as the first and only modern-day, black-owned baseball glove brand.

"I always wanted to give back as soon as I could," Greene said. "Once I got the platform to do that and the experience and the connections with other players and coaches coming out to help me, I jumped on it real fast."

Greene, 19, is ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the Reds' system and the No. 22 prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline.

Darrell Miller, vice president of baseball and softball development for Major League Baseball Youth Programs, was the director of the Compton academy when Greene played there. Miller spoke to the importance of having players like Greene return to the Youth Academy.

"Having Hunter come back and all the other guys that are here instructing with him that have come through the Academy, it means a lot to the kids who'll know and understand that this is the place to be," Miller said. "This is the place where they're going to get great mentorship and great coaching."

Among the Minor Leaguers who showed up to assist Greene was Angels No. 1 prospect Jo Adell, ranked the No. 15 prospect in baseball. Adell, a longtime friend of Greene's, made the trip to Southern California all the way from Louisville just for the clinic. He called the decision to come out "a no-brainer," in part because Greene came out to Louisville last fall to help with Adell's own clinic.

"We come from similar-minded families," Adell said. "They expect the best from us, and they're both big on community. Hunter has always gotten that. He understands that where he came from is the most important thing. He wouldn't be where he was without the people around this area."

Brewers outfield prospect Je'Von Ward and Rays first-base prospect Devin Davis, both of whom got their start playing at the MLB Youth Academy in Compton, were also instructors at the clinic. Ward recognized the significance of their participation.

"You never know when one of these kids will be in the same position as you," said Ward, the No. 25 prospect in Milwaukee's system. "We're closer in age to some of these kids, so they can look ahead, like, 'I could do that in a few years.'"

When addressing the campers, Greene emphasized the importance of listening as a way of learning and growing, both as a person and as a player. He also drove home the equal importance of choices made both on and off the field.

"Yes, you want to be able to perform on the field for the club," Greene said. "But the expectations are just as high off the field. … You represent the team, and they're building a franchise around you, and they're trying to win a World Series, so they're picking the best players -- but most importantly, the best people out there -- to be Major League citizens."

Sarah Wexler is a reporter for MLB.com based in Southern California.

Cincinnati Reds

Reds pick up versatile Joe in Rule 5 Draft

26-year-old utility slugger had .935 OPS in Minors for Dodgers last season
MLB.com

LAS VEGAS -- The Reds selected utility player Connor Joe from the Dodgers' Triple-A roster in Thursday's Rule 5 Draft, which marked the conclusion of the annual Winter Meetings.

Joe, 26, batted .299/.408/.527 with 17 home runs and 55 RBIs combined last season with Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City. He can play first base, second base, third base and the outfield.

LAS VEGAS -- The Reds selected utility player Connor Joe from the Dodgers' Triple-A roster in Thursday's Rule 5 Draft, which marked the conclusion of the annual Winter Meetings.

Joe, 26, batted .299/.408/.527 with 17 home runs and 55 RBIs combined last season with Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City. He can play first base, second base, third base and the outfield.

"He's going to come in with a chance to compete for a job in Spring Training," Reds general manager Nick Krall said. "Our guys liked him. He made some improvements this year with his swing and approach. He had a really excellent year."

In the 2014 MLB Draft, Joe was a first-round selection (39th overall) by the Pirates.

Cincinnati's 40-man roster is now at 38 players.

Under the rules of this draft, the Reds will pay the Dodgers $100,000 by selecting Joe, who is added to their 25-man roster. He must remain on the club all season or be offered back to Los Angeles for $50,000 after he clears outright waivers. He can be sent outright back to the Minors if the Dodgers or another club does not take him.

In the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft, the Orioles selected pitcher Taylor Grover from Cincinnati. A right-hander, Grover pitched in independent baseball last season and was signed by the Reds in the offseason. The Braves took right-handed pitcher Jose Rafael De Paula from Double-A Chattanooga.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds, Connor Joe

Senzel aims to earn 'any spot' at Reds camp

Top prospect on track for spring after offseason elbow surgery
MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- Injuries slowed Reds top prospect Nick Senzel's express route to the Major Leagues in 2018. Senzel wants to prove he will be ready to be in Cincinnati when the 2019 season opens.

Ranked No. 1 in the organization by MLB Pipeline, and No. 6 overall, Senzel endured vertigo in May and a right index finger fracture in June that required season-ending surgery. After he healed from that procedure, the natural infielder tried the outfield during the instructional league in the fall. That ended when he needed surgery in mid-October to remove bone chips from his left elbow.

CINCINNATI -- Injuries slowed Reds top prospect Nick Senzel's express route to the Major Leagues in 2018. Senzel wants to prove he will be ready to be in Cincinnati when the 2019 season opens.

Ranked No. 1 in the organization by MLB Pipeline, and No. 6 overall, Senzel endured vertigo in May and a right index finger fracture in June that required season-ending surgery. After he healed from that procedure, the natural infielder tried the outfield during the instructional league in the fall. That ended when he needed surgery in mid-October to remove bone chips from his left elbow.

"The elbow is good. It was six weeks [last] Tuesday. It was supposed to be a six-week recovery, so it's getting there," Senzel said. "I'd say I'm at about 90 percent. I will start doing baseball activity in the next week or so."

Senzel, 23, has been rehabilitating at the club's Spring Training facility in Goodyear, Ariz. He is expected to be ready to begin swinging a bat by the end of December.

From there, the hopes are that Senzel can have a quasi-normal offseason ahead of camp opening in February. He was cleared to begin lifting weights a couple of weeks ago.

"I'm trying to catch up there. I've had to adjust for sure," Senzel said.

This is a critical juncture for Senzel, who batted .310/.378/.509 with six home runs and 25 RBIs in 44 games last season for Triple-A Louisville. He was at shortstop in big league camp during Spring Training, but he played mostly second base for Louisville and some at his natural spot of third base.

Video: SEA@CIN: Senzel makes a lunging stop up the middle

With center fielder Billy Hamilton being non-tendered a contract on Friday, it's possible that a place in the lineup has opened for Senzel. During instructional league, he was tutored in the outfield by instructor and Reds great Eric Davis.

"I thought it went good. Me and E.D. hit it off great," said Senzel, the No. 2 overall selection in the 2016 MLB Draft. "I've known him since I came to this organization. He makes it as simple as possible. We worked together every day, mainly in center and I worked in left a little bit. It was great practice. Obviously, I didn't get into many games but the more reps out there, the more comfortable I was."

The Reds, led by president of baseball operations Dick Williams and general manager Nick Krall, plan to explore options outside of the organization -- either free agents or via trades. But if the spot is open when camp starts, Senzel has every intention of competing for it.

"I'd like to compete for any spot," Senzel said. "I don't really know the plan. I'm sure we'll sit down and talk, and my agent will talk with Dick, Nick and the new staff about where they think I will be. If it's center field, it's center field. If it's left field, it's left field. If it's kind of all over the place to get some guys days off so I can get in the lineup and some at-bats, it could be that.

"I don't think I will be in a set spot the whole year. Hopefully I can break camp with them and if not, be up soon."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds, Nick Senzel

Prospect Herget added to 40-man roster

Travieso, Beltre go unprotected heading into Rule 5 Draft
MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- In an expected move ahead of the deadline to protect players from exposure to the Rule 5 Draft, the Reds added right-handed reliever Jimmy Herget to their 40-man roster. Tuesday's move leaves Cincinnati with one remaining open roster spot.

Herget, a sixth-round pick by Cincinnati in the 2015 Draft out of the University of South Florida, ranks as the Reds' No. 13 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

CINCINNATI -- In an expected move ahead of the deadline to protect players from exposure to the Rule 5 Draft, the Reds added right-handed reliever Jimmy Herget to their 40-man roster. Tuesday's move leaves Cincinnati with one remaining open roster spot.

Herget, a sixth-round pick by Cincinnati in the 2015 Draft out of the University of South Florida, ranks as the Reds' No. 13 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

Video: CIN@CLE: Herget induces groundout, notches the save

In 50 relief appearances for Triple-A Louisville during the 2018 season, Herget went 1-3 with a 3.47 ERA and 1.34 WHIP over 59 2/3 innings.

Left unprotected ahead of the Dec. 13 Rule 5 Draft that will conclude the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas was Reds 2012 first-round Draft pick Nick Travieso, who has missed the last two seasons because of a shoulder injury. Also unprotected was outfielder and No. 22 prospect Michael Beltre, who played at Class A Dayton and Class A Advanced Daytona last season.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds, Jimmy Herget

Reds Minor Leaguer dies in car accident in DR

19-year-old Capellan passes away; 2 other players hospitalized
MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- The Reds learned that three of their Minor League players were involved in a serious car accident on Saturday in the Dominican Republic, with one losing his life in the tragedy.

Right-handed pitcher Jairo Capellan, who was 19, was killed in the wreck while right-handed pitcher Raul Hernandez and outfielder Emilio Garcia were hospitalized locally. According to an update from the Reds on Sunday, Hernandez is in critical but stable condition. Garcia is still in the hospital receiving treatment for his injuries, but he is alert and conscious.

CINCINNATI -- The Reds learned that three of their Minor League players were involved in a serious car accident on Saturday in the Dominican Republic, with one losing his life in the tragedy.

Right-handed pitcher Jairo Capellan, who was 19, was killed in the wreck while right-handed pitcher Raul Hernandez and outfielder Emilio Garcia were hospitalized locally. According to an update from the Reds on Sunday, Hernandez is in critical but stable condition. Garcia is still in the hospital receiving treatment for his injuries, but he is alert and conscious.

Both players are being monitored by local doctors and Reds medical staff.

Hernandez and Garcia are 19, as was Capellan.

"We will continue communicating with our Dominican Republic medical staff and will provide updates as details become available," Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams said in a statement. "We are thinking of and praying for the players and their families."

Reds players, coaches and staff attended a funeral service for Capellan on Sunday afternoon in Santo Domingo.

"We received this terrible news and send our condolences and support to the families, friends and teammates of Jairo, Raul and Emilio," Reds CEO Bob Castellini said in a statement. "Our Dominican operations are an integral part of the Reds organization, and this tragedy affects us all. We will remain closely involved to help everyone through this difficult time."

Tweet from @MicahOwings: Pretty torn up right now. Just saw two of these young men throw bullpens & had the pleasure of working w/all three this week. PLEASE, pray for them & their families. https://t.co/kzPegHdNfU

The details on the cause of the accident, which occurred in Boca Chica, were not immediately revealed.

Capellan and Garcia just played his first professional season in 2018 with the Reds' Dominican Summer League team while Hernandez finished his second season with the same affiliate.

"Jairo was a talented young pitcher with a bright future who was taken from us much too soon," Reds Latin America field coordinator Joel Noboa said in a statement. "He will be missed by everyone who knew him -- his teammates, coaches and our Dominican Academy staff."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds

Senzel to undergo surgery on left elbow

Reds' No. 1 prospect has bone spurs, will need six weeks to recover
MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- A chance for Nick Senzel to try his newly mined skills as an outfielder in the Arizona Fall League was scrapped when it was learned that the Reds top prospect needs left elbow surgery to remove bone spurs.

Senzel, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the organization's No. 1 prospect and No. 6 overall, will have his operation performed by team medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek on Tuesday and is expected to need six weeks to recover. The 23-year-old had been learning to play left field and center field in Arizona during instructional league.

CINCINNATI -- A chance for Nick Senzel to try his newly mined skills as an outfielder in the Arizona Fall League was scrapped when it was learned that the Reds top prospect needs left elbow surgery to remove bone spurs.

Senzel, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the organization's No. 1 prospect and No. 6 overall, will have his operation performed by team medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek on Tuesday and is expected to need six weeks to recover. The 23-year-old had been learning to play left field and center field in Arizona during instructional league.

"It's just a couple of bone spurs. Now is the time to do it because it won't impact any of his offseason work," Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams said. "It's six weeks of no activity with that elbow and then he'll have a normal offseason progression. We wanted him to go through the instructs to get outfield instruction and get the experience out there. But we didn't want to push it any further than that. It was something that was nagging."

An MRI exam confirmed the bone spurs, and the surgery is considered minor. However, it's the third time this year that a health issue has forced Senzel off of the field. He missed nearly a month in May because of a bout with vertigo -- the second of his pro career. In late June after a ground ball hit him on the hand, he had season-ending surgery to repair a broken index finger.

When asked if there were health concerns regarding the team's top prospect, Williams wasn't concerned.

"They're just unrelated, fluke situations," Williams replied. "It's frustrating that he lost time this year and potentially an opportunity to play in the Fall League. But really in the greater scheme of things, he had a very nice year. He had a chance to perform on the field, a chance to progress and a chance to go to instructional league. Taking a ground ball off your finger and having a bone spur to get cleaned up, guys have that all the time."

In 44 games for Triple-A Louisville, mostly playing second base, Senzel batted .310/.378/.509 with six home runs and 25 RBIs.

"If he can do as well as he did while struggling through with minor things, it just makes us excited to see him at full-go," Williams said.

Drafted No. 2 overall as a third baseman in the 2016 MLB Draft, Senzel was given his first look at shortstop during Spring Training. During the regular season, he was moved to second base for Louisville. With the Reds having Eugenio Suarez locked in at third base and Scooter Gennett at second base, the outfield could be another option for Senzel to reach the big leagues.

This fall, Senzel played mostly in left field but also some center field while getting instruction from Reds coaches at the team's Goodyear, Ariz., complex. He was expected to see some action in the Arizona Fall League.

"He just was getting exposed to both," Williams said. "It was more, at this point, about the concept of stretching your arm out to make a different throw than you're used to and understanding the positioning. We'll see when we get him in live games how the instincts will play out there. We've always been optimistic about that because he's always been a very instinctual ballplayer."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds

Pipeline names Reds' Prospects of the Year

MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- In a relatively short amount of time, a pair of 21-year-old Reds prospects have made good impressions on the field. In addition, how outfielder Taylor Trammell and starting pitcher Tony Santillan handle themselves while not in games has also been noticed.

"Both of these guys have a maturity and contentiousness to what they do with preparation, competitiveness," said Shawn Pender, the Reds' vice president of player development.

CINCINNATI -- In a relatively short amount of time, a pair of 21-year-old Reds prospects have made good impressions on the field. In addition, how outfielder Taylor Trammell and starting pitcher Tony Santillan handle themselves while not in games has also been noticed.

"Both of these guys have a maturity and contentiousness to what they do with preparation, competitiveness," said Shawn Pender, the Reds' vice president of player development.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

Trammell and Santillan were named as the Reds' Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year by MLB Pipeline.

Each team's hitting and pitching Prospects of the Year were chosen by the MLB Pipeline staff. To receive consideration, players must have spent at least half the year in the Minors and appeared on the team's Top 30 Prospects list.

In 110 games for Class A Advanced Daytona, Trammell batted .277/.375/.406 with eight home runs, 41 RBIs, 25 steals and 71 runs. MLB Pipeline ranks him as the organization's No. 3 prospect and No. 17 overall.

Trammell also dazzled on a national stage this season when he was the MVP of the Sirius-XM All-Star Futures Game in Washington, D.C. He went 2-for-2 with a home run and a triple for Team USA.

"He just gets it," Pender said. "He knows there are things he needs to work on. He applies himself with the help of others. He keeps marching forward in all aspects of his game. Obviously offensively, the power he continues to show and the bat speed, and the athleticism that plays both offensively and defensively is really important to us. He's developing to be a better defender and a better baserunner."

Video: Trammell discusses his season on the Pipeline Podcast

Trammell was taken 35th overall in the first round by Cincinnati in the 2016 MLB Draft.

Santillan, ranked No. 5 in the organization by MLB Pipeline, was 10-7 with a 3.08 ERA and 1.24 WHIP over 26 games combined for Daytona and Double-A Pensacola in 2018. In 149 innings, the right-hander gave up 146 hits and 38 walks while striking out 134. A big kid that stands at 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, Santillan turned the corner last season after struggling his first two professional seasons. The 2015 second round pick has always been considered to have overpowering stuff, and now he's learned how to command it and manage a game.

Video: Top Prospects: Antonio Santillan, RHP, Reds

"What really stood out to me was how aggressive he was in the strike zone and how he worked to get ahead," Pender said. "Usually when guys have good stuff and they're younger, you sometimes have to wait for the other things to happen -- the command and control. He just had increased feel with everything. The was marked improvement with his ability to locate the quality stuff that we all saw from this guy."

If Trammell and Santillan continue to advance at the current trajectory, Reds fans won't have to wait very long to get their first looks at two of the more promising young players in the organization. 

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds

Senzel to learn OF during instructional league

Bailey likely done pitching this season; Mahle won't start Saturday
MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- Last weekend against the Cubs, the Reds saw former National League Most Valuable Player Award-winner Kris Bryant start in both left and right field. He's also played a few games this season at first base, although his main position is third base.

Cincinnati's front office envisions similar versatility for its No. 1 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline: Nick Senzel. The former third baseman, who played second base for Triple-A Louisville this season and shortstop in big league Spring Training, is in Arizona this week to learn the outfield during instructional league. Senzel, 23, will play games in left field when the schedule opens on Oct. 1.

View Full Game Coverage

MILWAUKEE -- Last weekend against the Cubs, the Reds saw former National League Most Valuable Player Award-winner Kris Bryant start in both left and right field. He's also played a few games this season at first base, although his main position is third base.

Cincinnati's front office envisions similar versatility for its No. 1 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline: Nick Senzel. The former third baseman, who played second base for Triple-A Louisville this season and shortstop in big league Spring Training, is in Arizona this week to learn the outfield during instructional league. Senzel, 23, will play games in left field when the schedule opens on Oct. 1.

View Full Game Coverage

• Reds' Top 30 prospects

"When you have a guy who can hit and is a really good athlete and play the infield, it's not a huge hurdle to think he can go to the outfield," Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams said on Tuesday. "Whether or not it becomes a primary position for Nick would be [determined] further down the road."

Senzel, who is ranked as the No. 4 prospect in all of baseball by MLB Pipeline, was the No. 2 overall selection in the 2016 Draft. There were hopes he'd reach the big leagues in 2018, but his season was cut short by season-ending surgery on his right index finger. Senzel also missed nearly a month in May due to a bout with vertigo.

"We definitely wanted him to get some playing time on the heels of this abbreviated season because of the injuries," Williams said. "We had talked to him about extending his season and getting back out there and getting at-bats. In the course of discussing that, we asked him to come prepared to show what he can do in the outfield. We're going to have some instructors out there specifically working with him on that. This guy has shown us enough to know that we have what we believe will be an elite hitter at second base and third base and a guy who has shown he can play shortstop. At this point, we want to see what else he can do.

"He's a guy that has risen to the challenges put in front of him in the past. He is eager to tackle this one, as well. It's important to develop players that have positional flexibility. Nick is the kind of athlete we think is very well suited to at least familiarize himself with the different positions to see what the opportunities will be at the big league level."

Watch: MiLB Video

Senzel will first get acquainted with left field because the club feels that is the most difficult of the three outfield spots.

"If he gets good reads there, it's a good indicator that he would be able to play right field," Williams said. "We'd then see if the athleticism carries him to center field."

The Reds' outfield situation could be in flux before 2019. Corner outfielder Jesse Winker is coming off right shoulder surgery, while center fielder Billy Hamilton will be a year away from free agency and a potential trade candidate. Right fielder Scott Schebler twice missed time on the disabled list this season, and Phillip Ervin has been establishing himself in left field lately.

"Anything that gives us the ability to field a competitive team and have more options is something we want to pursue," Williams said.

Bailey likely done in 2018
The Reds have an open spot in the rotation again for Sunday vs. the Marlins, and interim manager Jim Riggleman said the turn would either go to Tuesday's starter, Michael Lorenzen, or someone currently in the bullpen.

One healthy starting pitcher who won't get the assignment is Homer Bailey, whom it appears is done pitching this season.

"As far as starting, yeah," Riggleman said. "Homer has indicated that he can't relieve. Hard to think of something else to use him with."

When Bailey was dropped from the rotation in favor of Tyler Mahle earlier in September, Riggleman noted at the time that the veteran would be the next man up if there was a starting need.

"When we took Homer out of the rotation," Riggleman said. "That was the plan. Since that time, we've just decided to go otherwise. We changed our direction."

Bailey is making $21 million this season and has one year and $28 million left on his six-year contract with a mutual option for 2020.

Mahle, who has been working his way through right shoulder fatigue, is also not a candidate to start at Miami.

"Mahle definitely won't pitch Sunday because we haven't done enough with him to get him ready for Sunday," Riggleman said.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds