Reds report card: Grading Matt McLain's eye-opening 2023 season

Matt McLain finished his rookie season on the injured list., but the Reds infielder made an impression in 2023.

Cincinnati Reds infielder Matt McLain
Cincinnati Reds infielder Matt McLain / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages

Oh, what might have been. Had Matt McLain been healthy for the final month of the 2023, there was a good chance that the Cincinnati Reds could have made that final push and earned their way into the MLB Postseason.

But an oblique injury cost the Reds rookie an opportunity to close out his rookie campaign in style. As it is, odds are good that McLain will finish in the Top 5 for NL Rookie of the Year voting.

The former first-round pick could have been part of the Reds 2023 Opening Day roster, but instead, Cincinnati sent McLain to Triple-A to begin the season. That time in the minor leagues didn't last long, as McLain was called up to The Show in mid-May.

Reds report card: Grading Matt McLain's eye-opening 2023 season

While Elly De La Cruz received all the media hype this summer, there's a strong argument to be made that Matt McLain was the Cincinnati Reds best rookie in 2023. In fact, Spencer Steer should probably get more love as well.

While De La Cruz brought flash to the Reds lineup once he debuted in early-June, it was McLain who brought a professional approach to the batters' box. McLain showed wisdom beyond his years and took the major leagues like a duck to water.

McLain has solified his spot heading into 2024. In fact, McLain's performance this past season may force the Reds to trade Jonathan India during the offseason. While McLain came up as a shortstop, the 24-year-old showed that he can be a very capable second baseman as well.

McLain grade. A. .290/.357/.507 16 HR 50 RBI. . Matt McLain

Among National League rookies, McLain ranked second in batting average and slugging percentage, third in OPS, fourth in doubles, sixth in home runs, seventh in hits, and eighth in RBI.

Matt McLain has the chance to be the best player on the field for the Cincinnati Reds in 2024. If there is only one player you could hitch your wagon to as a Reds fan, I'm going with McLain.