When Alex Bregman came out of the 2015 MLB Draft (Round 1, Pick 2), he was widely regarded as the best collegiate bat available in the draft. A year later, Nick Senzel, himself regarded as the best collegiate bat available in the 2016 draft, found himself selected with the second overall pick following suit with Bregman. I remember breaking down both draft classes, and noticing eerie similarities between the two hitters. Similar size was immediately noticed, but their swing styles resembled one another: short, compact, and quick to the baseball. When I currently think of the pitcher with the best mechanics, I think of Los Angeles Dodgers righty Walker Buehler. He keeps everything tight, compact and there is little movement during his windup. I notice similar approaches when watching Bregman and Senzel hit. As I mentioned earlier, both have quick, compact swings with very little movement. The key, for both hitters, is their ability to repeat their swing, and given the lack of movement, this allows them to make any necessary adjustments to off-speed pitches during at-bats. This week, I want to dive further into both in “That’s Amore!” Could Nick Senzel Be Headed For Alex Bregman-Like Numbers?
The above chart breaks down Bregman’s rookie season (2016) compared to Senzel’s stats entering Monday. Their stats are similar, and by season’s end, Senzel will have accumulated a considerable amount of more at-bats. Still, it’s easy to see why I consider Senzel a solid comparison to his American League counterpart. Even looking at their collegiate stats, both players were on-par with one another as each ended their collegiate careers with a batting average north of .330, an OBP over .400, just below or over 200 hits, and right around the 20 home run mark.
One thing I find remarkable is their plate discipline. Neither player is afraid to take a walk, and they’ve always managed to keep strikeouts in check, even at the MLB level. In college, Senzel posted a 13.8 K% and 15.7 BB% while Bregman posted a 8.6 K% and 11.0 BB%. Both players had better walk percentages than strikeout percentages. This speak volumes to their plate discipline, and this makes them extremely desirable to fantasy owners.
The two above charts display Alex Bregman and Nick Senzel’s batted ball and contact percentages. Again, almost all numbers fall in line with one another, with the bigger differences being Bregman pulling the ball more than Senzel and Senzel having a better Hard%. This could be directly correlated to the fact that Bregman had a higher FB% while Senzel has shown a tendency to hit a higher percentage of balls on the ground. Both hitters had a solid Contact%, and two numbers that drastically stand out are the fact they show patience in having a higher-than-average F-Strike%, but low overall SwStrk%. This tells me neither hitter is afraid of falling behind in the count, as they rely on their superb plate discipline to make up for being down in the count. Even so, when they do swing, they have a lower-than-average SwStr%.
Looking at their teams’ makeup, it’s obvious Bregman would have a higher total in terms of RBI. He’s playing with a better team, and one that has a World Series Championship title. As of now, the Reds aren’t as good as they will be within the next few seasons. I can see them getting better, and eventually allow Senzel to have more opportunities to not only drive in runs, but score them. For that reason, Bregman is clearly the better option in fantasy, but I do believe Senzel could have similar production and at a cheaper price in redraft leagues. Still, both players’ home games are in hitter-friendly ballparks, and as Senzel progresses through the upcoming seasons he has the makeup of a 25+ home run hitter. Also, given him being a bit bigger than Bregman, I wouldn’t be shocked if we see Senzel have a season that tops Bregman’s career-best, from a season ago, in which he hit 31 home runs. It may not be for a season or two, but Senzel’s primed for a season in which he hits 30+ home runs.
I chose these two hitters because they are quite similar in every way, shape, and form. I saw their similarities in college, and immediately came back to this thought after Senzel was drafted, in the same draft slot, a year after Bregman. Similar swings, approaches at the plate, and overall style of play make each player an enticing fantasy target. One difference I do see is speed. Senzel posseses more speed, and it’s been apparent this season. I see Senzel having the ability for multiple 20/20 seasons. Bregman’s shown the ability to swipe a base, but his stealing usage isn’t as apparent as Senzel’s. Of course, this could be correlated to the team Bregman plays on. His team does not need to manufacture runs like Cincinnati does. Still, both players’ rookie numbers are similar, and close to identical, and through research, and following each player the past few years, I believe Senzel is on pace to post numbers like Bregman in the upcoming seasons.