The Reds announced that they’ve placed third baseman Eugenio Suarez and outfielder Scott Schebler on the 10-day disabled list today. Suarez was diagnosed with a broken thumb after being hit by a pitch in yesterday’s game against the Pirates, while Schebler hasn’t played in a week due to a right elbow/ulnae nerve contusion (also stemming from a hit-by-pitch). Schebler’s DL stint is retroactive to April 6 — the maximum three-day period by which a DL placement can be backdated.
In their place, Cincinnati has recalled infielder Alex Blandino and right-hander Zack Weiss from Triple-A Louisville. Each player will be making his MLB debut the first time he gets into a big league game.
Blandino, 25, was the 29th overall pick in the 2014 draft but hasn’t seen his stock take off as the Reds would’ve hoped when investing such a lofty pick in the former Stanford star. Blandino, who hit .265/.382/.453 with a dozen homers and 36 doubles between Double-A and Triple-A last season, does rank in the organization’s top 20 prospects in the estimation of most major outlets, though. Fangraphs (No. 14) and MLB.com (No. 18) ranked him favorably, while ESPN’s Keith Law was more bullish and placed Blandino 10th (subscription link) among Reds farmhands. He’s generally regarded as a second/third baseman with quality on-base skills but average power at best.
Weiss, meanwhile, comes with just 29 innings of experience above Class-A Advanced — 28 in Double-A last season and one in Triple-A in 2018. He’s been slowed by elbow issues throughout his professional career but has also missed enough bats (11.2 K/9) and limited walks well enough (2.5 BB/9) in parts of five seasons that the Reds added him to the 40-man roster in the offseason.
Some Reds fans, of course, could be disheartened not to see Nick Senzel tabbed as an immediate replacement for Suarez, who figures to be on the shelf for more than the 10-day minimum as he recovers from his broken thumb. The former No. 2 overall draft pick is widely regarded as one of the top five to 10 prospects in all of baseball, and it’s believed that he’ll make his MLB debut at some point in 2018.
However, the Reds could gain an extra year of control over Senzel merely by waiting until this weekend to promote him for his first look in the Majors. And beyond any service time questions, it’s also possible that the organization simply doesn’t want to rush the highly touted infielder to the big leagues. Senzel has played in just three Triple-A games and logged only 57 games in Double-A last season. Senzel posted a .633 OPS in a small sample of plate appearances this spring in Major League camp with the Reds.
Additionally, with Suarez locked up to a new seven-year extension, it seems clear that Senzel will be moving off of third base in the long run. He’s played second base in his first three Triple-A games this year, but those are his lone (regular-season) professional games anywhere other than the hot corner, so there’s some logic in getting him additional reps in the middle infield before calling on him in the Majors as well.