Nick Senzel Positions Himself For Majors
Nothing in third baseman Nick Senzel's second full season went as planned, but when he was actually on the field, the No. 2 overall pick in 2016 did nothing to lower sky-high expectations.
Senzel's challenges began in spring training when he played shortstop in big league camp. Then late in spring he began seeing time at second base when big league third baseman Eugenio Suarez signed a seven-year extension.
A month into the season at Triple-A Louisville, Senzel left a game in Norfolk after his first at-bat because of a recurrence of the vertigo that prematurely ended his 2017 season. After missing more than three weeks, he returned with a vengeance by hitting .349/.406/.558 in 21 games before breaking his right index finger on June 22 while fielding a ball at third.
Even though he played just 44 games in the International League, the 23-year-old Senzel showed that he was more than capable of playing either second or third base. He will go into 2019 expecting to play in the big leagues—at a position to be determined.
BIGGEST LEAP FORWARD
Righthander Keury Mella made his big league debut last September in what many assumed would be his eventual role as a reliever. He made a forgettable first impression, giving up three runs over four innings in two appearances.
The 24-year-old, who was acquired along with Adam Duvall at the 2015 trade deadline, had started at Double-A Pensacola in 2017, going 4-10, 4.30 in 27 appearances, all but one as a starter.
Back with the Blue Wahoos this season, Mella went 7-3, 3.07 in 16 starts with 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings to punch his ticket for Louisville.
Mella's improved slider has helped him go deeper into games and is giving the Reds reasons to rethink his future could be in the rotation.
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** Low Class A Dayton 1B Montrell Marshall was suspended 50 games for a second positive test for a drug of abuse. He was hitting .181/.286/.310 with three home runs in 65 games. Marshall was named the MVP of the Midwest League all-star game with a walk-off RBI single.
** Not far from his hometown of Anniston, Ala., second baseman Shed Long homered at the Southern League all-star game in Birmingham. He also doubled in the game, going 2-for-4 with a walk.