Reds to try Senzel at multiple positions in camp

GM Williams on No. 1 prospect: 'He's got the talent' to play all over diamond

Reds to try Senzel at multiple positions in camp

CINCINNATI -- The Reds' No. 1 prospect, Nick Senzel, will need to purchase some new gloves for some different positions next year.

Senzel was drafted second overall in 2016 as a third baseman, and he has seen time solely at the hot corner amid his express lane through the system. When Senzel arrives at his first big league Spring Training in February, he will be given looks at multiple spots.

"I think he's got the talent to play a couple of different positions, and we're going to let him do that," Reds general manager Dick Williams.

Cincinnati has the so-called good problem in that its third baseman, Eugenio Suarez, is coming off of breakout year. It doesn't mean that Senzel is necessarily blocked, because Suarez -- a natural shortstop -- could always be moved to a different position. But Senzel has experience elsewhere, too.

"This is a guy that played shortstop in college [at Tennessee], played third base in college, played second base as an amateur," Williams said of Senzel. "We think he's clearly athletic enough to go to left field or right field. He's got the bat to do it."

Reds' Pipeline hitter of 2017

Senzel, 22, batted .321/.391/.514 with 14 home runs and 65 RBIs in 119 games in 2017, combined among Class A Advanced Daytona and Double-A Pensacola.

Over the 57 games he played for Pensacola after his June 22 promotion, Senzel hit .340/.413/.560 with 10 homers. It appears likely that he will begin next season at Triple-A Louisville. Besides being ranked No. 1 in the organization by MLBPipeline.com, he's listed as the eighth-best overall in baseball.

Williams likened Senzel's potential trajectory to former Reds All-Star third baseman Todd Frazier. When he was taken 34th overall in the 2007 Draft, Frazier was a shortstop. As a prospect, and during his early days in the big leagues, he played numerous positions -- third base, first base, second base and left field.

"We knew he was going to be able to hit in the big leagues," Williams said of Frazier. "When Todd came up, we thought maybe the opportunity would be in left field, maybe third base, maybe shortstop. He had the ability to play multiple positions, and we played him that way. There's no reason why you wouldn't get [Senzel] some time at different positions."

Top Prospects: Senzel, CIN

Many have opined that Senzel could have a future as the Reds' second baseman. Scooter Gennett, a March 28 waiver claim, emerged with a breakout season and is under club control for two more years. The organization also has the oft-injured Dilson Herrera, who will be out of Minor League options next spring with little track record since his 2016 trade from the Mets for Jay Bruce. In the corner outfield spots, the Reds have Adam Duvall, Scott Schebler and prospect Jesse Winker.

It's often said in the Majors that if a player can hit, teams will somehow find a place for him in the lineup to play. In the short term at least, the club can kick the can down the road a little and find a spot when for Senzel when they have to. Trading him elsewhere is definitely not one of the solutions, but having him be versatile in the field certain is one.

"We see him as a guy we really want to keep," Williams said. "We see him as an important part of our lineup and team in the future. I think he's valuable enough and talented enough that depending on our situation, when and if he's ready, we have flexibility with him."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.