Nick Senzel is one of the most exciting young players in professional baseball right now.
The third baseman established himself as a pure and consistent hitter just a little more than a year after the Cincinnati Reds drafted him in June 2016.
MLB Pipeline's no. 11 prospect is hitting .322 for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos after earning a mid-season promotion to the Reds' Double-A team.
Senzel, 22, has faced a lot of adversity in his young life. Most people who followed the Farragut alumnus and former Tennessee baseball player know he failed to make the baseball team his freshman year of high school. His family's house burned down, destroying almost everything they owned.
And his family has been there supporting him through it all - including Pensacola's weekend series against the Tennessee Smokies in Kodak.
"We're survivors," Jeff Senzel, Nick's father, said before Saturday's game. "The kids know that. That's what I preach to them. I think they take that to heart."
17-year-old Maddie Senzel is a rising senior at Farragut High School. She recalls screaming the loudest when she heard her brother's name called in the MLB Draft.
"I used to think he was just standard, like everyone else," Maddie Senzel said with a smile.
Maddie recalled the morning after the Reds selected Senzel with the number two overall pick. Nick bought his father, Jeff, breakfast for the first time.
She leaned on her brother for support many times when they were growing up. Their struggles have inspired her to pursue a potential career in grief counseling.
"If I was an only child, I don't think from what has happened in my family, I don't think I would've been able to get through that alone," Maddie said. "He's so much stronger than I am."
Senzel's baseball career figures to have its ups and downs. Saturday, for example, saw the sweet-swinging Senzel go 1-for-4 with a single and two strikeouts.
"I told [the children] the only direction to move in life is forward," Jeff Senzel said. "There's no time to move backwards."
The Smokies will host a news conference for Senzel on Monday, Aug. 7.
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