Reds rookie Nick Senzel is scheduled to undergo shoulder surgery next week to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder, according to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. A timetable for his return is not yet known.
Though it was already known that Senzel’s season would end prematurely, there were questions whether the injury would require surgery or not. Those questions, of course, have now been answered and that procedure has been scheduled for Tuesday.
While no timetable has been announced, manager David Bell expressed optimism that his young center fielder would be ready to play on Opening Day 2020.
Notably, it’s not believed that the surgery will force a return to the infield for Senzel, who was thrust into a new position in his first taste of the big leagues. For his part, he fared reasonably well in center field as a rookie, credited with -1 DRS and -1 UZR—not bad marks, all things considered (he only started playing the position in spring training). He was drafted and developed as an infielder, though opportunities at second and third base have been scarce, with Eugenio Suarez entrenched at the hot corner. With Scooter Gennett no longer in Cincinnati, there’s a need at second base, although the Reds wouldn’t have an immediate replacement for Senzel in center field in such a scenario, making that an unlikely outcome. Anyway, there’s no reason to move Senzel down the defensive spectrum if he’s shown himself a passable center fielder.
It was an up-and-down rookie season for Senzel, the former second-overall draft choice in 2016. Through July, he had posted an OPS of over .800, though a dreadful month of August dragged that number down considerably. Overall, he drew walks at a 7.3% clip, a solid rate for a rookie. He’s always been lauded for his offensive skillset, which carried him throughout the minors. While he’s yet to really make good on those evaluations, he’s only got 414 Major League plate appearances under his belt. He’s had his moments, and has in reality had just one bad month.
More concerning that his performance, though, is the laundry list of injuries that Senzel’s accrued at just age 24. He missed much of the 2018 minor-league season with a fractured finger and vertigo, then began this season on the injured list with a sprained ankle.