THURSDAY: The surgery was to “reduce the fracture,” per a club announcement, with “no damage to the tendon” requiring treatment. Whether or not that impacts the timeline is not known, but it seems there could be some hope for an improved outlook.
SATURDAY: The Reds have announced that their top prospect, third baseman Nick Senzel, will undergo season-ending surgery in order to repair a torn tendon in his right index finger.
It appears as though Senzel suffered the injury while making a defensive play during the top half of the first inning in a Triple-A matchup against the Norfolk Tides. Although he initially remained in the game for the Louisville Bats, he was removed in the bottom half of the inning, and now it appears the Reds are facing one of the worst-case outcomes, as a player who seemed ready to contribute in the majors at some point soon will instead miss the remainder of 2018.
The 22-year-old Senzel is a consensus top-flight young talent in the game, with all four of Fangraphs, MLB Pipeline, Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus labeling him as either the game’s sixth- or seventh-best prospect in their most recent rankings. A 6’1″ third baseman, Senzel has raked at a .310/.378/.509 clip in 193 Triple-A plate appearances this season while slugging six homers and swiping eight bags.
For what it’s worth, The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosencrans reports that the Reds expect Senzel to make a full recovery, and they believe the injury is unlikely to affect him moving forward. Furthermore, it seems as though he could still feasibly be ready in time for further development in the Arizona Fall League or in winter ball. Online research, at least, would seem to corroborate that last point, as a few sources suggest that a finger with said injury can handle heavy sports activities after about 12 weeks post-surgery.
Prior to this stunning turn of events, Senzel seemed to be on the brink of a potential major-league call-up, at least by basic logic. He was just coming off a two-homer game and had three in the past week in addition to his strong Triple-A batting line. Furthermore, a promotion at this point in the season would not have helped him qualify for Super Two status, as that deadline has almost certainly passed for the season. Though he would appear to be blocked at third base by a red-hot Eugenio Suarez, Senzel’s actually been getting some reps at the keystone this season in order to give him a more direct path to the majors.
For now, though, the young wunderkind will sit on the MiLB injury shelf, where he won’t gather any MLB service time. That means Reds fans will likely have to wait until at least three weeks into next season to see Senzel at Great American Ballpark, as Cincinnati will almost certainly look to manipulate his service clock in order to gain an extra year of team control over him.