Big league spring training technically doesn’t get started until Sunday, but when it does there are going to be two new additions coming over from minor league camp. On Friday afternoon the Cincinnati Reds extended non-roster invitations to big league camp to outfielder Ronnie Dawson and shortstop Matt McLain. They both had been in minor league camp for a few weeks and now will be moving their gear from the minor league clubhouse into the big league clubhouse.

Matt McLain was the 17th overall pick in the 2021 draft. After signing he played in two games at the complex before joining the High-A Dayton Dragons for the remaining 29 games of the year. The now 22-year-old infielder hit .283/.389/.462 in his 31 games with eight doubles, a triple, three home runs, 10 stolen bases, 17 walks, and 24 strikeouts.

Ronnie Dawson was a minor league Rule 5 pick up in December – not to be confused with the big league Rule 5 draft, which is not happening this year. Last season he saw action with the Houston Astros in three games, going 1-5 with a walk. The 26-year-old outfielder spent all of his time in the minors last season with Triple-A Sugar Land. In his 94 games played there he hit .249/.341/.374 with 21 doubles, a triple, seven home runs, 15 steals, 46 walks, and 84 strikeouts. That line isn’t that far off from his minor league career triple-slash line of .246/.340/.404 across parts of five seasons. He was originally drafted out of Ohio State by the Astros in the 2nd round of the 2016 draft.

Those two invitations move the number of players in big league camp to 60. While the report date is set for Sunday, due to the lockout there could be and are expected to be some players who arrive late due to VISA-related issues. Teams usually help facilitate getting things squared away on that front, but due to the lockout teams were unable to be in communications with the players.

8 Responses

  1. DaveCT

    Probably just a relatively standard move of inviting a top draft pick to ML camp, but I’m wondering if McLain has showed things in minor league camp encouraging it.

    • MBS

      Maybe, they did say he’d likely start in AA this year. It would be awesome if he’s a quick mover.

      • MK

        Might need a couple guys in a little better shape than the goys just arriving to play inning in ST games.

      • DaveCT

        As Red Auerbach used to say, “It’s not who starts, it’s who finishes.”

  2. RB77

    McLain doesn’t get enough respect IMO. Haven’t seen him on many top 100 lists but I think he is gonna be a star and sooner than later. Reminds me of one of those tough gritty Astros players that are undersized and overlooked but overproduces his way into the AS game year after year…

    • DaveCT

      I suspect he’ll leap up boards a bit this year. High floor. Medium ceiling. Solid citizen. Another piece to the puzzle. Where? It doesn’t matter, right? Just get him there and add a building block.

  3. Hunt4RedsOct

    Just saw that Alf Rod was released. Unfortunate that his bat never developed enough.