Spring Training is both a blessing and a curse for baseball fans. Spring training brings back the first “competitive” baseball of the new year for most baseball fans. The games also give fans untrustworthy ammo to back up hot takes on certain players. Some of the best players slump in the spring, causing articles of concern and worry. Bench players hit like MVPs and rocket up fantasy baseball draft boards, only to bust within the first month. Reds Spring Training is no different.
The Reds will have a couple career minor leaguers look good this spring, only to fade into obscurity as the regular season rolls around. The Reds will have some of their more prominent pitchers get hit around early on in the spring, leading to the ever prominent Cincinnati professional sports pessimism. Joey Votto may not even hit above .300 this spring.
The first week of Reds spring training is notable in that not a lot of notable stuff happens as players only play two or three innings every couple of days. This spring seems different, however, as there is a healthy mix of young players looking to make good impressions and veterans fighting for MLB spots. The Game Haus will have weekly updates of Reds camp. These updates will not be hot takes on hot or cold starts however, but instead will be sharing some of the notable insights from each week.
Nick Senzel Looks Like a Shortstop
Nick Senzel (as of writing) has played ten innings of baseball this spring, six at 3B and four at SS. The most notable thing for Reds fans is that everything looks normal. Senzel has looked comfortable with the grounders he has taken at shortstop, but there is more to short than grounders. The versatility of playing SS will give Senzel just another position to make the MLB roster at some point this summer.
All of the focus has been on Senzel’s defense and rightly so. Shortstop is the second hardest defensive position behind catcher. His offense has not lagged behind too much yet this spring with the focus on learning a new position. Senzel is 2 for 7 so far, with one of his hits being a RBI single.
Senzel has one of the safest offensive floors of any prospect in baseball, Senzel’s shift to shortstop and his current offensive profile would make him an elite offensive shortstop. Senzel’s offensive stats could mirror the likes of Corey Seager or Alex Bregman. That thought should have Reds fans salivating, which is why fans should be tuning in and focusing on Senzel’s defense the rest of this spring.
Billy Hamilton Still Hasn’t Learned
Hamilton’s value has always been in his wheels and defense. The fury of Reds fandom stems from the fact that he cannot get on base to utilize his speed. Blind optimism led me to believe that maybe, just maybe, Billy would take a page out of Votto’s book and learn some patience this offseason. Hamilton has yet to accumulate a base hit this spring, though he was unfairly called out bunting against Milwaukee.
If Billy cannot get on base by putting the bat on the ball, he could still walk. Hamilton does have two walks this spring, but he would need a lot more this spring to prove some newfound plate discipline. Just an OBP north of .330 would be a start to satisfy Reds fans. There are other options for CF, including a cheap veteran in Ben Revere, or shifting Scott Schebler over from right. Hamilton’s (should be gold) glove is what keeps him in the lineup, providing a boon for the Reds young pitching. Reds fans will be watching closely to see if Billy can improve getting on base the rest of this spring.
Joey Votto is Still Joey Votto
Votto is the perfect example of a star who never shines in spring training (By Votto standards at least). Instead, Votto focuses on one or two things to work on each spring and only works on those. What Votto lacks in batting average most springs, he makes up for in Votto antics.
Votto started the spring meeting the MLB Network guys, revealing secrets and advice for the young ballplayers out there on hitting. Joey then was interviewed by Jim Day a couple days later and provided a new hashtag, #GymDayWithJimDay. Votto proposes setting up a segment where Reds players work out with Jim Day. The workouts would show some of the lifts and stretches that keep Reds players healthy and bulked up. Do not let Reds fans down Fox Sports Ohio!
Reds fans have not had a whole lot to look forward during the season over the past couple of years. Joey Votto being a menace to opposing fans and teams has been one of those lone bright spots. The future looks bright now for Reds fans though, as players like Nick Senzel are finally on the brink of pushing the Reds into playoff contention in the near future.
Check back March 9th to see the Reds second week in review, with a focus on the Reds pitchers.
Featured image courtesy of Sam Greene of the Cincinnati Enquirer
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