For more Fantasy baseball insights, and to keep up with all the latest news, roster trends and more throughout the season, subscribe to Fantasy Baseball Today now on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify. You can find us on YouTube now, with full episodes and clips available every Monday through Friday.
One side effect of the Vladimir Guerrero hype, justified though it may be, is that it's dwarfed the significance of other prospects who Fantasy owners might find interesting. It should go without saying, though, that Nick Senzel, the second overall pick in 2016, is a pretty big deal.
According to reports, he'll be making his major-league debut Friday, taking over for Scott Schebler in center field. It's a position that's new for him, a player drafted as a third baseman who spent most of his time at second last year, but he proved to be a viable option there this spring and simply needed a few games to get his legs under him after missing the start of the season with a sprained ankle.
There's no questioning the playing time either. He was the Reds' center field plan all along. Schebler was miscast there both defensively and by virtue of his everyday use, making him the most obvious of placeholders.
Given Senzel's limited time in the minors this year, there aren't too many stats to salivate over, which sort of sums up his entire minor-league stay. Apart from 2017, when he hit .321 with 14 homers, 40 doubles and a .905 OPS between two levels, he hasn't played anywhere close to a full season, getting shut down early last year with a torn ligament in his hand. There have also been bone spurs in his elbow, a couple bouts with vertigo and the aforementioned ankle sprain, making his progress difficult to track.
But for talent as obvious as his, the numbers are ancillary anyway. He was biding his time in the minors — it was apparent from basically his first day there — and for a collegiate hitter good enough to go second overall, it stands to reason there wasn't much left for him to learn. Projected to hit for both average and power with a keen batting eye and advanced approach, his upside is as high as you're willing to imagine, and while immediate success doesn't seem as assured for him as it did for Guerrero, in part because of the shortage of reps, you go ahead and take the chance on it because you just don't know. Apart from knowing he'll have the opportunity, everything else is a guess.
The fact Senzel retains second base eligibility in CBS Fantasy leagues makes it an even easier call. If there's one position that hasn't come through for Fantasy players in the early going, it's the keystone. Second base was weak even before losing Scooter Gennett to injury, and has seen the stock of players like Robinson Cano, Travis Shaw, Jurickson Profar and Brian Dozier dip in the early going. Between that position and (eventually) the outfield, you're sure to find a use for Senzel if he does break through.
Of course, the question of whether or not to roster him has mostly been answered already in CBS Fantasy leagues, where he's presently 75 percent owned. He's more widely available on some of the other sites, though, and while I'd hope it wouldn't come to this, I'd take my chances on him over someone like Ryan McMahon, whose upside remains enticing, and Brandon Lowe, who has strikeout and playing time concerns. That's enough to vault Senzel into my top-12 second basemen right from the get-go.