The Cincinnati Reds were only one of a few teams left who had not yet signed their 1st round draft pick this year. With the deadline coming up on Sunday afternoon, things weren’t concerning yet that he hadn’t signed. Now they aren’t concerning in any manner as Matt McLain has officially signed his contract and is a part of the Reds organization.
Cincinnati had plenty of pool money to work with in order to sign Matt McLain. And they needed all of it. And then some. McLain signed for $4,625,000. That is more than a million dollars higher than the slot value of the pick and it put the Reds into the tax overage penalty group. Teams can go over their draft pool allotment by up to 5% before they must give up their next years 1st round draft pick. No team has ever made that kind of commitment. Cincinnati is now $432,600 over their allotment, which works out to 3.63%. That means the Reds owe MLB 75% of $432,600 as a penalty – or $324,450.
Here’s what we wrote about McLain on draft day:
Matt McLain was previously selected 25th overall in 2018 by the Diamondbacks. He’s has been on the radar of scouts for a quite a while. There were some struggles as a freshman, hitting just .203/.276/.355 back in 2019. Since then he’s hit quite well. In the last two seasons he’s hit .349/.431/.589.
McLain impresses scouts with his ability to hit and with his speed. He should be strong on the bases where he could steal double digit bags in the big leagues. The right-handed hitter also projects to hit for a good average in the future. Defensively there’s some split opinions on where it is that he winds up. He may be able to play shortstop in the big leagues, but he’ll likely be below-average there from a defensive standpoint. Most scouts believe he will wind up at second base, but third base could also be an option for him down the line. A few scouts belief that he could even make a move to center if a team wants to try it thanks to his speed. As a freshman he spent some time in the outfield, so that move wouldn’t be something that would be starting from scratch. There is concern about just how much power he can hit for, with most scouts grading his power out as below-average with 12-15 home runs being the projection for him.
Late on draft night here’s what scouting director Brad Meador had to say about Matt McLain.
“He’s a guy that we really wanted, we really liked, he was really high on the board. We didn’t think we’d be able to get him. But the way it worked out…. Really excited. He’s a player we think can play shortstop, he’s a plus runner, he can handle the bat, hit in the top of the lineup. Middle of the field player with really good tools, really good make up – a lot to be excited about.”
On whether McLain reminded him a bit of Jonathan India and Nick Senzel
“Yeah, we talked about that. I think that’s a good one. We talked about that in the room. He’s a tough kid. He’s played different positions. We think he can play shortstop and we think that’s where he fits best. But he’s a good athlete who’s played second base, who’s played center field, he can move around the field. He gives your team when he gets there, he gives you flexibility, and he can be able to fit into different spots. That’s a good thing. That’s exciting.”