Cincinnati Reds director of player development Jeff Graupe has good news and bad news for the team’s fans who also frequent Dayton Dragons games.
They won’t be seeing Nick Senzel at third base in Fifth Third Field this summer.
They might see the former Tennessee Volunteer with the big-league club sooner than later, though.
“There’s a history of those guys (from the SEC) being able to be challenged and moved fairly quickly, and Nick has the mental makeup to handle those types of things,” Graupe said last week when he was in Dayton to help introduce new Dragons manager Louis Bolivar.
“We’re gonna put him in the best position to succeed out of the gate, but he will be challenged throughout the year.”
Senzel took pro ball by storm last summer after the Reds took him with the No. 2 pick in the June draft.
After just 10 games in Billings (rookie ball), Senzel hit .329 with seven homers, 36 RBIs and 15 stolen bases for the Dragons.
He played 58 games in Dayton, and Graupe confirmed he will not be back in the Gem City this season, though he did not say if Senzel will start at advanced-A or jump to Double-A.
A 2017 major-league debut is probably not realistic, but he could position himself well for making it to Great American Ball Park next year.
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Jumping multiple levels in a short time is not without precedent.
Jay Bruce, the Reds’ No. 1 pick in 2005, began 2007 in advanced-A ball, blew through Double-A and finished that year in Triple-A.
He made his Reds debut the following May after a torrid start at Louisville.
Senzel isn’t even 12 months into his pro career yet, but he entered the organization ahead of Bruce as a three-year college player. Bruce came straight out of high school Beaumont, Texas.
“He’s an extremely talented guy that I think will move quickly through the system,” Graupe said of Senzel. “How quickly that is will be determined by his play and his development, but he’s a guy we’re excited about.”