1 Reds minor league player who should start 2023 on the major league roster

A view of the Franklin batting gloves worn by Cincinnati Reds.
A view of the Franklin batting gloves worn by Cincinnati Reds. / Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
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The Cincinnati Reds disastrous 2022 season is finally over, and the fanbase can now focus on next season and dream about the front office might look to construct next year's roster.

With an emphasis on developing young talent, Reds Country might be wise to direct their attention to the team's minor leagues rather than free agency. Any help that Nick Krall make look to bring to the big league club is likely come from club's minor league system.

There will be plenty of talented, young prospects added to the team's 40-man roster prior to the new year, but a few players may yet be left off heading into spring training. Is there a minor league player who may warrant a spot on the Cincinnati Reds 2023 Opening Day roster?

Matt McLain, not Elly De La Cruz, should be part of the Reds 2023 roster.

There will be a lot of Reds fans clamoring to see Elly De La Cruz make his major league debut in 2023. And it may well happen, but there's no reason to rush, what could be, an elite-level talent like De La Cruz to the big leagues. The Cincinnati Reds top prospect should, at the very least, begin the 2023 season at Triple-A.

However, the case could be made for fellow shortstop prospect Matt McLain to be part of the Reds 2023 Opening Day roster. After a wrist injury slowed his progression through the minor leagues, the Reds decided it would be prudent to send the former first-round pick to the Arizona Fall League where McLain could receive more reps at shortstop.

Prior to his stint on the IL, McLain was hitting .237/.352/.470 with a 13.8% walk-rate and a wRC+ of 114 according to FanGraphs. While his batting average took a bit of hit after a month on the injured list, McLain still posted an OPS of .805 and a wRC+ of 117 post injury. In 103 games with the Chattanooga Lookouts in 2022, McLain slashed .232/.363/.453 with 53 extra base hits.

Jose Barrero proved one thing during his extended time with the big league club in 2022; he'll strike out in nearly 50% of his at-bats. Unless Barrero shows tremendous improvement next spring, the former top prospect should begin the 2023 season in the minor leagues.

Matt McLain, while 23 years old, does not need to be added to the team's 40-man roster during the offseason. But if McLain has a Jonathan India-esque spring training in Goodyear next March, he could be the Cincinnati Reds starting shortstop on Opening Day.

Next. Grading the Reds 2022 starting rotation. dark