When the 2021 baseball season began for Matt McLain he was a junior at UCLA. He put together a big season for the Bruins, hitting .333/.434/.579 with 14 doubles, 2 triples, and 9 home runs in 47 games played. That led to the Cincinnati Reds selecting the shortstop with the 17th overall pick in the 1st round of the draft in July.

The Reds assigned Matt McLain to the Arizona Complex League Reds to begin his career. He got things started in a big way, going 3-7 with two doubles and a triple in his first two games. That was the end of his time in Goodyear and he was promoted up to High-A Dayton. His debut there was about as good as it gets. Joining the Dragons in Lansing, McLain went 4-5 with a double, home run, and he drove in five runs.

After the big debut, though, he went into a slump over the next two weeks to round out August, hitting just .147 without another extra-base hit in 10 games. But when the calendar flipped to September, McLain straightened things back out and he finished the season strong, hitting .300/.403/.483 over the final three weeks of the season for Dayton while walking as often as he struck out – 10 times. He would add 10 steals for good measure, too.

For all 2021 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).

Matt McLain Scouting Report

Position: Shortstop | B/T: R/R

Height: 5′ 11″ | Weight: 180 lbs | Acquired: 1st Round (2021)

Born: August 6, 1999

Hitting | He has an above-average hit tool. His above-average speed could let that play up slightly thanks to the potential of picking up a few infield hits that his speed could lead to.

Power | His power grades out as slightly below-average to possibly fringe-average.

Speed | He’s an above-average to plus runner.

Defense | He’s a solid defender and should be able to stick at shortstop.

Arm | His arm grades out as above-average.

Before the season began there were some questions about whether Matt McLain could stick at shortstop long term. In 2021 he showed some improvements and quieted some of those concerns. With that said, he spent time in center when he was a freshman at UCLA and some scouts still think that long term center will be his best position.

At the plate his power is the area where he doesn’t really stand out. There’s more gap-to-gap power than true home run power for McLain. There’s enough power in there, though, that pitchers have to respect it. He also has a good understanding of the strikezone.

The combination of defensive ability, position flexibility, speed, and hitting ability makes him a high floor player, but one who also has the upside to be a quality every day player, too.

Matt McLain Spray Chart

Matt McLain Spray Chart

Interesting Stat on Matt McLain

He hit .400 with runners on base (16 for 40) after turning pro.

This article was first sent out to those who support the site over on Patreon. Early access is one of the perks that you could get be joining up as a Patron and supporting the work done here at RedsMinorLeagues.com.

8 Responses

  1. Gaffer

    He’s got a ton of “fringe” in his game, but no big holes. The one issues that stands out though is the high K rate for a low power type hitter. If he keeps walking at high rate it’s probably gonna be ok but K rates rarely get much better as you move up. He’s not drew Stubbs but it kinda puts a ceiling on his value.

    Jonathan India had a fairly similar K rate early on but had a lot more power (few less walks though), but let’s hope for a repeat in his development.

  2. Alan Horn

    Hopefully, he and Barreo can command SS and CF going forward. It remains to be seen which one is the best SS with the other landing in CF. Likewise, both must show an ability to hit at the ML level.

  3. Stock

    He is one of 3 players who impressed me with their plate dicipline. All three had incredible plate discipline once they settled into the position. Here are the September stats on Matt McLain, Jay Allen and Carlos Jorge.

    McLain – BB% 16.7%/K% 16.7%/ISO .183/OPS 0.886
    Allen – BB% 16.7%/K% 20%/ISO .300/OPS 1.111
    Jorge – BB% 23.1%/K% 15.4%/ISO .292/OPS 1.205

    McLain does not have the ceiling of Allen or Jorge but his floor is without a doubt higher. His September proved he is ready for AA ball already.

    Allen’s ISO is backed up with his 21.4% HR/FB% He hits the ball on the ground far too often but that is an easy correction. The plate discipline is the challenge and even though he played three sports until he signed with the Reds his lack of experience playing baseball does not show up with his plate discipline.

    Carlos Jorge signed for $500,000 and looks to be great signing. He finished 3rd in OPS in the DLS and the two that finished above him are older than him (Moncada 2 years older, Pinto 1 year older). It would not surprise me to see Jorge in Daytona at the age of 18 next year.

  4. Tom

    I really like to envision Jay Allen in centerfield with McClain India Barrero in some configuration on the infield by 2025. Add in De La Cruz and Hinds. Someone’s getting pushed out to the outfield. Anyway, I think McClain is slightly underrated. I like the pedigree and the makeup to build a great career.

    • DaveCT

      Similar profile to India, in that the make-up is really good and his skills are very solid. Looking forward to following this kid.

  5. DaveCT

    Reds protect Greene (duh), Cerda, Diaz, Marinan and Daniel Duerte

  6. kevin emmett

    Anyone notice that Hunter Greene and McLain were born on the same day 8/6/99 ?