The Cincinnati Reds got their first spring training game in on Saturday afternoon in Goodyear as they took on their house mate, so to speak, the Cleveland Guardians. Cincinnati came out on top in the opener 4-3 and a big part of that was due to the play of #6 prospect Matt McLain.
When the game began McLain was on the bench. But he entered the game in the top of the 6th inning, taking over at shortstop for Jose Barrero. In the 7th inning he would get his first at-bat of the day and he got ahead in the count 3-1 before taking the fifth pitch he saw from Luis Oviedo and lining it into right-center for a single. In the top of the 9th inning he made a nice grab at shortstop to start a double play and erase a Cleveland baserunner in a tie game. That would help set things up for the bottom of the 9th. McLain stepped to the plate with no one on and one out. After taking a breaking ball for a strike he hit a mammoth home run on a fastball up in the zone, nearly hitting it through the scoreboard. There was no Trackman or Hawkeye data available, but Google Maps gives me an estimate of 440-ish feet on the McLain home run.
MATTY ICE IN HIS VEINS @mattmclain_ pic.twitter.com/bgGpf3uW5j
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) February 25, 2023
That’s how you put an exclamation point on your first appearance of the spring.
Other prospect performances of note include Noelvi Marte going 1-2 with an opposite field, line drive single and Alex McGarry lining a single into right-center in his only at-bat. McGarry would come around to score later in the inning on a sacrifice fly by Henry Ramos. On the mound Ricky Karcher tossed a hitless inning with a walk. You can check out the entire box score for the game here.
McClain’s throw on that DP was my favorite play of the game. He really committed to getting the ball to Lopez, who turned it nicely as well. Karcher was throwing some gas, too. Ball was popping the catchers mitt.
This guy is a really scrappy, heady, instinctive ballplayer who I believe would exceed the low bar of Barrero!
Really tight compact swing from McClain. I said all winter if you look past the batting average a lot of the peripheral numbers were pretty good.
Marte’s first at bat he was late on everything. He certainly made the adjustment quickly. Really beautiful swing mechanics.
He reminded me of Geno