Phillies Potential Top Draft Pick: Nick Senzel

February 21 2016: Tennessee infielder Nick Senzel (13) down and ready at third base. The Tennessee Vols defeated the Memphis Tiger 5 - 2 at AT&T Field in Chattanooga, Tennessee. (Photo by Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire)
February 21 2016: Tennessee infielder Nick Senzel (13) down and ready at third base. The Tennessee Vols defeated the Memphis Tiger 5 - 2 at AT&T Field in Chattanooga, Tennessee. (Photo by Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire) /

The Philadelphia Phillies hold the top overall pick in the 2016 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, which begins on June 9th.

I’ve spent the last few months profiling some of the most talented college and high school players that the Phils could potentially select, and today I continue that series with a look at University of Tennesee infielder Nick Senzel.

Currently playing in his junior year, Senzel will turn 21 years of age at the end of June, and he is listed at 6’1, 205 lbs. He has played both 3rd base and 2nd base for the Volunteers, but could make a move to the outfield in the big leagues.

Senzel has put up excellent offensive numbers thus far this season, with five homers, 47 RBI, 15 doubles, and a triple over 133 at-bats. His has produced an eye-popping .353/.477/.594 slash line. He also has a good eye at the plate, having drawn 31 walks compared to just 14 strikeouts.

According to Fangraphs, Senzel has average speed on the base paths, which might be his lone flaw. Prior to the 2016 season, Senzel was named an All American by Perfect Game, and Baseball America currently has him ranked at #2 on their Top 100 2016 Draft Prospects list. Jason Groome, who was featured previously in this series, was listed at #1 by Baseball America.

The Phillies are currently sitting in 3rd place in the NL East with a paltry 6-9 record. A big part of their early struggles has been a lack of offense. The Fightins have scored a measly 37 runs over their 15 games played, which averages out to 2.47 runs per game, ranking as the worst offensive output in all of baseball.

A big part of the problem has been a serious lack of power and overall offensive production. Ryan Howard leads the team with four homers, but the fading ‘Big Piece’ is batting a weak .205 with 14 strikeouts in just 44 at-bats.

Maikel Franco has cooled down after a strong spring training, and is batting just .264 with two homers and two doubles to start the season. With no other offensive threats around him in the lineup, Franco is simply not getting much to hit.

The Phillies outfielders have been abysmal at the plate this year. Peter Bourjos is hitting just .167 to this point. Cedric Hunter was batting just .083 before being sent to the minors a few days ago. His replacement, David Lough, has two hits in his first two games.

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Tyler Goeddel, the top 2015 Rule 5 pick, is batting a dreadful .063 with eight strikeouts in 16 at-bats. If he continues to struggle this badly the Phillies will not be able to keep him on the 25-man roster, and he will likely be offered back to the Tampa Bay Rays, unless some type of trade can be worked between the two teams allowing Goeddel to head to the minor leagues where he belongs.

The surprising 2014 Rule 5 pick, Odubel Herrera, had an impressive rookie campaign last year. However, he has not gotten off to a hot start, batting just .255 to this point. He has walked 14 times in 15 games, showing greatly improved patience.

Even with a strong rotation such as the Mets or Nationals, no team would be able to compete while fielding a lineup this weak. Along with some of the help that should be arriving from the minors in the next few months, a bat like Senzel’s could be a difference-maker for the Fightins in a couple of years. His dangerous hit combo of contact, patience, and power could accelerate the Phillies’ rebuilding process, helping once again make them serious contenders for the NL East.

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There are a lot of young, talented prospects available in this year’s draft. Power arms such as Groome, A.J. Puk, and Riley Pint. Power bats like Corey Ray, Blake Rutherford and Senzel. As we get closer to the draft, it will be fun to try to guess which direction the Phillies will go in when making the first overall selection.

While Phillies GM Matt Klentak has stressed the importance of pitching, a bat as strong as Nick Senzel might be hard to pass up if he keeps posting such impressive offensive numbers. I look forward to continuing to profile some of the other exciting players as these pre-draft features wind down.

Soon enough, I’ll be making my final choice for who the Phillies should select at 1:1. In a disappointing season, this pick should help to energize the fan base, and hopefully set the team up for greater success in the near future.

Next: Phils Bombed by Mets