Sports Today: Reds already changing plans for top prospect?

  • Marcus Hartman
10:13 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018 Sports

Let this be the first of what could be many Nick Senzel updates as the Cincinnati Reds go through spring training. 

The team’s top prospect, who tore it up in Dayton two years ago before dominating at two levels last season, is in camp with the big leaguers and figures to get a look at multiple positions. 

RELATED: Reds rotation candidates named

He probably won’t make the team, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn a lot about him as he competes with the best in the desert. 

While we’ve already wondered about displacing third baseman Eugenio Suarez or one of the team’s 30-homer-club outfielders to make room for him in just the past year or so, I am starting to think shortstop could be where he makes his first impact. reports this week he started working at the middle infield positions more than in the outfield. That’s interesting because in the offseason general manager Dick Williams indicated the outfield might be Senzel’s ticket to early major-league at-bats. 

Of course, the team is already looking at playing four guys in those three spots anyway with Jesse Winker expected to play regularly along with Billy Hamilton, Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler. 

Senzel has the least (perhaps none?) experience in the outfield while he’s actually spent more time at shortstop and second base than third if you go back to the early part of his baseball life. 

"It's footwork at each position and the different arm angles," Senzel said. "It's using your legs more -- footwork around the bags, double plays and stuff like that. It's definitely challenging. It helps a lot that my newest position was third base. I grew up playing middle infield -- second base and shortstop -- and playing those positions. I have more knowledge of those positions than I do at third base. Going back is just refreshing the memory.”

Of course, the Reds already have a prospect getting ready to get his shot at shortstop in Jose Peraza. 

Maybe he’ll respond to talk about losing his job the same way Suarez did last season: By crushing it. 

That would be a good problem for the Reds, eh?… 

One early Reds move that’s easy to agree with: Starting Cody Reed as a reliever this season. 

He has been nothing short of a disaster as a starter with the Reds, but he had some positive appearances coming out of the bullpen last season. 

Obviously they need another lefty down there, too.

Some guys tend to overthink things when they know they are getting the ball every fifth day. 

Maybe mentally he’s just better as a reliever. 

Like most of the young pitchers the Reds have tried to groom over the past couple of years, Reed’s troubles stem mostly from lack of command. 

Which is to say he can’t throw it where he wants to when he wants to. 

That this sort of becomes a secondary focus of how we cover pitching is sort of telling, isn’t it? Seems like maybe that’s the first thing that should be required to move up the ladder, but obviously that’s not the case when there are radar gun readings to fall in love with… 

I didn’t lead today’s column with Dayton’s loss at George Mason because what’s the point of beating a dead horse? 

This Dayton basketball season is quickly moving from disappointment to disaster. 

Just a week ago we were wondering if the Flyers could go on a late-season run, finish with a winning record and have some positive momentum going into the offseason. 

The overall response I got from columns last week indicates to me Anthony Grant isn’t in danger of losing the fan base too soon, but what if he’s lost this locker room? 

That’s the natural question when performances like Wednesday night begin to add up. 

RELATED: Can Dayton make winning a habit again?How patient will Flyers fans be?

Josh Cunningham conceded mounting playing time for the starters could have taken a toll. 

I still wonder if messing with minutes (up and down for many players since the start of the season) has hurt morale, but that’s not the type of thing anyone likes to talk about publicly. (And I don’t blame them for that.) 

» WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Week off a good thing for Dayton

After last night’s loss, Grant lamented a lack of intensity on defense more than missed shots on the other end of the floor. 

“We didn’t have the fire and the intensity on the defensive end. Obviously, you’re going to have nights when shots don’t fall, but you’ve got to have a toughness about you that you can play through that on the defensive end and get stops and get rebounds. We missed 60 percent of our shots in the first half, and we had zero offensive rebounds.”

It’s a young group with almost everyone in new roles, but we’re long past the point in the season that is an excuse. 

Nothing has really come together. 

There’s still lots of potential in that locker room, but the story this week about the NCAA considering changes to its transfer rules is a reminder keeping everyone together has probably never been harder… 

Speaking of Midwestern Catholic schools, Notre Dame is mad its football team can’t keep wins from seasons in which the Fighting Irish used players they judged to have been ineligible. 

I’m old enough to remember when Notre Dame was still thought of as Notre Dame, but that didn’t last long enough for me to develop much animosity toward the Fighting Irish. 

That is to say I don’t care much about ND either way. 

I think it’s interesting to watch them deal with the present as a unique, tradition-rich program but whether they win or lose doesn’t really matter to me. 

I’m also not feeling much sympathy in this case. 

If ineligible players participated in games, those games should be forfeited. Pretty simple. 

But I do love seeing people simultaneously argue vacating wins doesn’t matter and that wins shouldn’t be vacated.