Matt McLain, the Cincinnati Reds first-round pick from a year ago, is absolutely crushing baseballs at Double-A Chattanooga. How much longer will Reds Country have to wait until the former UCLA Bruin makes his major league debut?
At the rate he's playing right now, it wouldn't be crazy to think that we'd see McLain get a call to the big leagues later this year. At the very least, we might be looking at a potential candidate for a September call-up.
McLain, who was sent directly to High-A Dayton after being drafted last season, opened his 2022 campaign in Double-A Chattanooga. In 22 games for the Lookouts, McLain is slashing .278/.363/.696 with seven home runs, 21 RBIs, and a wRC+ of 171.
Matt McLain may make his Reds debut sooner than you think,
Now there's always a chance that Matt McLain will hit a road block and get bogged during his second season playing professional baseball. However, to this point, the 22-year-old looks to be on a mission to make it to the bigs sooner rather than later.
McLain has a very advanced approach to hitting. Per FanGraphs, the right-handed hitting infield has a walk-rate of 9.9% after posting a 14.3% walk-rate last season. McLain's 26.4% strikeout-rate is tolerable given how many free passes he's drawing, but that's a number I'm sure the Reds coaches would like to see come down a little bit.
McLain, by trade, is a shortstop. The problem is, the Cincinnati Reds already have too many shortstops. Kyle Farmer is the team's current starter, but he'll likely be sharing time later this season once Jose Barrero returns from the IL.
One of Cincinnati's top prospects, Elly De La Cruz, is also a shortstop. The Reds also have Jose Torres at High-A Dayton, and once he returns from the Injured List, Ivan Johnson will likely get some reps at shortstop as well.
There's been some talk of moving McLain from shortstop to center field, but the Reds haven't tinkered with switching positions just yet. Every game McLain has played in 2022 has been at shortstop or he's filled in as the Lookouts' designated hitter.
Depending on the how the season unfolds (the Reds win-loss record, possible trade, etc.) you don't have to squint very hard to see Matt McLain making his major league debut later this season.