How much longer can the Reds afford to keep Matt McLain in Double-A?

Cincinnati Reds infielder Matt McLain (93) instructs teammates during a spring training game.
Cincinnati Reds infielder Matt McLain (93) instructs teammates during a spring training game. / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
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Cincinnati Reds prospect Matt McLain is putting on an excellent performance at Double-A Chattanooga, and it won't be long before he's promoted to Triple-A Louisville. The 22-year old has already slugged nine home runs in 34 games thus far, holding an OPS of .892. Given the current state of the Reds lineup, it'd come as no surprise if McLain is promoted in the near future.

From a lackluster offense, to a faltering pitching staff, the Reds currently face a major issue. Big pieces of the offense are tied to the injured list, and the Reds only have a handful of pitchers they can lean on. Kyle Farmer and Matt Reynolds are struggling, and with the uncertainty floating around Jose Barrero, it's time for Cincinnati to assess their prospering prospect.

Matt McLain can be described as a five-tool player. McLain's quick, compact swing allows him to wait for the ball longer while still allowing himself to hit for power. Along with his offensive capabilities, he shows great instincts defensively, and showcases a strong arm with above average sprint speed.

The Reds will stretch Matt McLain's versatility.

McLain certainly has the potential to be a super-utility player if the Reds choose to develop him as such. His overwhelming speed matched with his powerful arm gives the Reds many options regarding positional development. The biggest offensive hole is shortstop, so if McLain can continue rolling, it'll be one less worry for David Bell and company.

Perhaps the biggest "must" for McLain this season is to lower his strikeout-rate. Unless you're Nolan Gorman, a 32% strikeout-rate isn't going to fly, especially in Double-A. With that being said, none of this will matter if he continues this massive power display as of late.

Strikeout rate isn't everything, as his 12% walk-rate is easier on the eyes, and his spray chart is unlike most hitter nowadays. According to FanGraphs, McLain has a pull-rate of 43%, but hits the other way about 25% of the time, while using his speed to put himself into scoring position.

Matt McLain still has a long journey ahead of him, but a bright future beyond the horizon. McLain is built to hit in Great American Ball Park, so it's only a matter of time before he gets a promotion... or traded.

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