Nick Senzel’s season is over, as the Reds outfielder has suffered a torn right labrum, The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans reports (Twitter link). Senzel has missed four of Cincinnati’s last seven games due to the shoulder injury, and only took one plate appearances over the other three games.
Senzel will finish with a .256/.315/.427 slash line and 12 homers over 414 plate appearances, while also stealing 14 bases in 19 chances. With only an 89 OPS+ and wRC+, it wasn’t quite the big breakout the Reds and their fans were hoping for from one of the game’s top prospects, though it’s worth noting that a sprained ankle suffered late in Spring Training kept Senzel from taking the field until April 23, and delayed his Major League debut until May 3.
Perhaps most troublingly, the 24-year-old is already amassing a rather lengthy injury history just four years into his pro career. Senzel played just 44 total games (all at Triple-A) in 2018 due to a broken finger and a bout of vertigo, which also cost him time in 2017. The Reds were going to send Senzel to the Arizona Fall League for more seasoning, only to drop those plans when elbow surgery sidelined him for much of October and November of last year.
Through it all, Senzel also had to take on a brand-new position, as Cincinnati shifted him into center field duty. Since he’d never played center field prior to 2019, Senzel’s slightly below-average defensive metrics (-2.1 UZR/150 and -1 Defensive Run Saved) are actually more than respectable. It seems likely that the Reds will continue to use Senzel in center going forward, though now that Scooter Gennett is no longer in the picture, one wonders if the club would consider having Senzel split time between both second base and center field. Senzel’s original third base position, of course, is blocked by slugger Eugenio Suarez.
It isn’t known if Senzel will require shoulder surgery, though president of baseball operations Dick Williams suggested Thursday that Senzel could be ready for Spring Training either way (link via Daniel Kramer of MLB.com).
Selected as the second overall pick in the 2016 draft, Senzel’s hitting ability has been highly regarded since his days at the University of Tennessee. Senzel hit .312/.388/.508 with 28 home runs over 1028 PA in the minors, including an .853 OPS over 231 PA at the Triple-A level.