Matt McLain has been named the Southern League Player of the Week. The Chattanooga Lookouts shortstop took no prisoners in the series at home against the Birmingham Barons this past week, capping the series off on Sunday by hitting for the cycle.

McLain, the Cincinnati Reds 1st round draft pick in 2021, went 9-20 with three doubles, two triples, and three home runs against the Barons. In his five games played he posted a .450/.500/1.250 line while scoring eight runs, driving in seven, walking twice, and he even picked up a stolen base to round things out.

After beginning the season by going 0-7 in the first two games of the year while striking out four times, Matt McLain has gone off, hitting .440/.482/1.120 since. The Reds have promoted him swiftly, sending him to Double-A in his first full season after being drafted and the early returns have been nothing short of outstanding.

Julian Aguiar keeps them at bay

Speaking of players taken in the 2021 Major League Baseball draft by the Cincinnati Reds, Julian Aguiar is out to a good start to his professional career. Taken in the 12th round of the draft last summer, Aguiar threw 8.2 innings for the complex level, walking no one and striking out 14 batters. This spring the Reds pushed him up to the Low-A Daytona Tortugas. Through two games with Daytona he’s thrown 9.0 innings, allowed no runs, given up just three hits, and he’s struck out 14 batters.

Small sample size alert here, but in his first 17.2 innings he’s walked no one and struck out 28 batters. And that’s come along with a 1.53 ERA and a 0.68 WHIP. The 20-year-old righty averaged 93.7 MPH, topping out at 95.5 on Saturday against Palm Beach. He also mixed in a change up in the low 80’s and a curveball in the mid-to-upper 70’s. Through his two games he’s picked up 18 swinging strikes, good for a swinging strike rate of 16.7% (swinging strikes/total pitches thrown).

14 Responses

    • DaveCT

      MK said in previous article that its gotta be a big weight off his back. Agreed.

    • Redsvol

      I’m going to have to see a lot more- and at a higher level before year is over. Fingers crossed – we need outfielders.

  1. DaveCT

    McClain is a good problem to have. I have to wonder just how fast of a fast-track Matt McClain will be on. It always seemed to be standard operating procedures to have prospects get around the league a couple of times, to see how they adjust to the adjustments being made by other clubs. Work in some opportunities to deal with some adversity. Failure if you will. But I would not be surprised to see them move McClain up to AAA by May and the steady diet of breaking pitches if AA isn’t challenging enough.

  2. RedBB

    Would not be surprised at all if McClain passes Barrero on the SS track

      • Redsvol

        I think it’s way too early to make that determination. Keep him there as long as possible. I am skeptical but I was also skeptical of his bat. I thought his ceiling might be nick madrigal. He is changing my mind. If he’s playing this well in august he might get a cup of coffee in Cincinnati. Wouldn’t it be cool to have back to back (Greene) to back (McClain in 2023) rookies if the year?

      • Redsvol

        Trea Turner, Fernando Tatis, and Xander Bogaerts are role model shortstops – they defend at a very high level and are valuable offensively. You aim for the best until it becomes clear he can’t do both of those things at the shortstop position. Any shortstop can learn another position. They are the most athletic kids on every team they have ever played on. If he keeps hitting that bat will play anywhere.

  3. kevinz

    Congrats matt glad off to a hott start.
    Still early yet like see where levels off at.
    Higher on you over Most.
    Hopefully stay healthy and productive.

  4. Bdh

    Got to love all the quality shortstops the reds have in the system right now.

    I could see Barrero going to the outfield and having India, De La Cruz, and McLain playing 2nd, short, and 3rd.

    What I would like to see if we’re talking about post Votto is for a catcher in the system to blow up and allow Stephenson to move to 1st full time.

  5. Greg, a former West Sider

    So – fun game…
    How many of the current Reds ‘regulars would McClain outhit in MLB today…

    Easily…
    1) Aquino
    2) Moose
    3) Moran

    Probably
    4) Drury
    5) Fraley
    6) Shoot Me!

  6. Jack

    Hope he has a couple more weeks like that and moves up to AAA. The bad thing about Mondays is there are no minor league games to distract me from the Reds.