Earlier today we profiled Mercer University outfielder Kyle Lewis, who followed up his impressive 2015 Cape Cod League run with an excellent 2016 spring season and is a lock for the first round. As good as Lewis was last summer for the Orleans Firebirds, Nick Senzel was even better with the Brewster Whitecaps, hitting .364/.418/.558 and winning the league MVP award. He's remained very hot for the University of Tennessee this spring and is a certain early first round pick heading into the last five weeks of draft season.
Senzel is a home-state talent, playing prep ball in Knoxville, Tennessee. He wasn't drafted in 2013 but took over a regular job with the Volunteers immediately, batting .315/.419/.420 with 14 steals in 2014 then .325/.399/.499 in 200 at-bats last spring. As noted he blew up the Cape, then continued mashing this spring with a .336/.448/.553 line through 152 at-bats. He's knocked 16 doubles and five homers, stolen 16 bases in 17 attempts this spring, and has a superb 31/14 BB/K ratio.
A right-handed hitter listed a 6-1, 200, Senzel offers a potent combination of bat speed and strike zone judgment. He is quite strong physically but his swing, at present, does not fully tap his power. Prospect writer Cormican at TheGoodPhight has a breakdown of Senzel's swing; Jesse Burkhart at Fangraphs makes similar observations. At is stands Senzel will be a high-average, high-OBP hitter with moderate power, but with some adjustments that could change in favor of additional ISO with the loss of some batting average. The OBP should remain strong at all levels given Senzel's feel for the zone.
The main question for Senzel is the glove. He's a decent athlete with average running speed, though his stolen base instincts are quite good. The arm is his best defensive tool and it is plus, but until this year he didn't have a firm position, spending his first two seasons as a DH and second baseman. He's at third base now and has played well enough to stay there in pro ball; he won't wow you with his tools, but as with his baserunning the instincts help everything work.
Senzel will be a first round pick and his bat should get him to the majors fairly rapidly. He should go in the top ten picks for a team looking for an advanced hitter and he could be in the top five.
Video by Jake Mastroianni, CBBScoutingdownsouth