This past Wednesday, we took a look at potential top pick, Mercer outfielder Kyle Lewis. Next up in our continuing draft prep profiles is Tennessee third baseman Nick Senzel.
Senzel has been a solid player since high school. Coming out of Farragut High School in Knoxville, Tennessee, Senzel headed to the Volunteers on Perfect Game’s Top-20 prospect list. The second baseman shifted to third during his collegiate career, and now enters the draft as the top-rated collegiate infielder.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound right-hander did not disappoint his freshman year at Tennessee. He started 53 games and slashed .315/.419/.420. It took Senzel some time to find his power, but he has slowly developed it over his three seasons with the Vols. That being said, he had 15 extra-base hits his freshman season, one of which was a home run. Most impressively, he walked more times (30) than he struck out (25), huge for a 18-year-old.
He improved across the board his sophomore campaign, except in one glaring aspect. In 50 games started, Senzel slashed .325/.399/.495. He had 21 extra-base hits, with four leaving the yard. However, he saw a decline in his strikeout to walk ratio (36-to-23), putting a dent in his OBP, but it was still not a bad mark.
The 20-year-old sensation, like Lewis who we discussed on Wednesday, went on to have a tremendous summer on the Cape. He picked up the two most prized awards in the summer league, taking home both the CCSL MVP Award as well as the coveted Most Outstanding Pro Prospect honors, an award that names like Matt Weiters, Mark Teixeira, Sean Manea, Billy Wagner and Andrew Miller have taken home over the last 20 years.
Senzel slashed .364/.481/.558, while leading the entire CCSL in eight categories, including hits, doubles, runs, RBI and an impressive .976 OPS.
Entering his junior year at Tennessee, Senzel had established himself as a sound hitter who was patient at the plate. He had become a doubles-hitting machine with the ability to hit gappers to all fields. There were some question marks about his defense, not about whether he could play in the bigs, but simply where he would stick. Turns out, he has the arm to handle the hot corner, and he is quick, both on the feet and with his hands. He has pretty solid instincts as well.
Senzel started 54 games this season, and while he saw his lowest strikeout-to-walk ratio of his collegiate career, he found his power. He hit 23 doubles (having hit 24 over the course of his first two seasons) and slugged eight home runs, three more than his career total heading into the season. He has a career best slash line as well, sitting at .347/.449/.593. Whether it was the summer on the Cape that boosted his confidence or simply the natural maturation of a blossoming star, Senzel is atop of his game.
For video analysis of his defense and swing, draft projections and expectations, head on over to Today’s Knuckleball for the full article by clicking on the link below: