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