Nick Senzel watched the baseball draft at home Thursday night in Knoxville, Tenn. His family surrounded him. When he got the call from his agent, who told him the Cincinnati Reds would select him with the No. 2 overall pick, he kept calm and didn’t tell his dad Jeff.
“I wanted him to be surprised,” Senzel said. “When they called my name, it was tears of joy and getting to hug him. Since I was little, this was what I dreamed of happening. For it to be a reality, I’m honored. It’s unbelievable.”
Senzel, a junior from the University of Tennessee, is the first third baseman drafted by the Reds in the first round since Brandon Larson in 1997.
The Reds drafted outfielder Taylor Trammell, of Mount Paran Christian School in Kennesaw, Ga., with the 35th overall pick in the competitive balance round. With their second-round selection, the Reds drafted Chris Okey, a catcher from Clemson.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Senzel turns 21 on June 29. He hit .352 with eight home runs, 25 doubles and 59 RBIs in 57 games this spring.
“We’re really excited,” said Chris Buckley, the Reds’ senior director of amateur scouting. “This is the guy we wanted. He’s a very polished player, one of the better hitters, if not the best hitter, in the draft. We think his power will improve the more he plays. He’s a complete player, runs, throws and plays his position well.”
The Philadelphia Phillies drafted outfielder Mickey Moniak, of La Costa Canyon (Calif.) High School, with the first pick.
The Reds had not drafted this high in the first round since they selected shortstop Kurt Stillwell with the No. 2 pick in 1983. The challenge now becomes signing Senzel, who is represented by Scott Boras.
“I’m ready, but there is business to be taken care of,” Senzel said. “I’ve got the best team in the world that takes care of that. They’ll let me know when the business side is taken care of. Once it’s taken care of, I’ll be ready to go.”
Senzel, who was undrafted out of high school, moved up the draft board with his performance in the Cape Cod League last summer. He was named the league’s most outstanding pro prospect. He hit .364 with four home runs, 16 doubles and 33 RBIs.
“It was an unbelievable experience, one I’ll never forget,” Senzel said. “The time up there really helped me going into my junior year. It gave me more confidence.”