How much longer can the Reds keep Matt McLain in the minor leagues?

Cincinnati Reds prospect Matt McLain
Cincinnati Reds prospect Matt McLain / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Reds have more questions than answers when it comes to former first-round draft pick Matt McLain. One of the Reds top prospects, McLain has been making a statement since his 2023 campaign got underway at Louisville.

The Reds have made it a point to push McLain more than any other prospect in their farm system, and he's shown that he's up to the task. It's only a matter of time before McLain makes it to the big leagues.

How has Reds prospect Matt McLain performed at Triple-A Louisville?

Pretty darn good. Matt McLain currently leads the Louisville Bats in home runs (5), RBIs (13), walks (12), runs scored (12) and stolen bases (6). McLain is second on the team in hits (16), on-base percentage (.417), and slugging (.603).

With Elly De La Cruz back from the hamstring injury that kept him out to begin the season, Matt McLain started Thursday night's game at second base. There are those who believe that the infield may not be McLain's permanent home in the majors.

Where will Reds prospect Matt McLain play defensively?

Honestly, given how poorly the Cincinnati Reds shortstops have played, it wouldn't be shocking if McLain just stayed put at shortstop. However, with top prospect Elly De La Cruz on the cusp of making his MLB debut, McLain could be shifted to the outfield. He played center field while at UCLA.

Matt McLain has yet to be added to the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster. And with good reason. Teams are given a four-to-five year window before being forced to add a player to the 40-man roster or risk losing him in the Rule 5 Draft. McLain doesn't need to be added until the 2024-25 offseason.

Which player on the 40-man roster will Reds prospect Matt McLain replace?

The Reds could go a lot of different ways with this, but among the names to consider would be relievers Joel Kuhnel or Derek Law. Luke Maile could also lose his 40-man spot if the Reds are done experimenting with three catchers.

So let's get back to the biggest issue at hand, which is the timeline. Cincinnati could easily continue to evaluate their top prospects who are at Triple-A Louisville, or they could jump in with both feet and make a move.

When will Reds prospect Matt McLain make his major league debut?

If McLain keeps hitting, he's going to force the Reds' hand. Given how poorly both Jose Barrero and Kevin Newman have been, not just at the plate, but in the field as well, it's only a matter of time before McLain gets his shot. I'd say we're looking at Memorial Day as the absolute latest McLain makes his MLB debut.

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