The time has finally come and the Cincinnati Reds are reportedly going to make it official on Monday and call up prospect Matt McLain where he will join the team in Colorado as they begin a series against the Rockies. This call up comes just a few days after we asked what else he had to do in order to get the promotion to the big leagues.

While Cincinnati has more than a few prospects that have been crushing the ball in Triple-A with the Louisville Bats, Matt McLain has been as good as anyone or better, and he’s been doing it all season long. The 2021 1st round draft pick is currently hitting .348/.474/.710 with 12 doubles, a triple, 12 home runs, 30 runs scored, 40 runs batted in, 29 walks, and 34 strikeouts to go along with 10 steals in 38 games played.

This season has been a breakout year for Matt McLain. In 2022 the Reds were more aggressive than usual and sent him straight to Double-A in his first full season. There were some positives with his season – he walked a whole lot, and he showed more power than anyone seemed to expect from him. But he hit just .232 and his strikeout rate was higher than you’d like to see.

Any of the negatives on his resume were quickly erased in his six weeks in Triple-A this year. His strikeout rate dropped from 28.1% in Double-A to 19.7% in Triple-A. His average jumped from .232 to .348. The power was good in Double-A but it’s been elite in Triple-A.

It’s tough to find any warts on the resume for Matt McLain this season. In April he posted an OPS of 1.037. This month he’s posted an OPS of 1.477! He’s hit .317/.417/.610 against lefties with two fewer walks than strikeouts this season. He has hit .361/.496/.753 with 22 walks and 25 strikeouts against right-handed pitchers. McLain has hit .500 with runners in scoring position. His OPS against starting pitchers is 1.174. His OPS against relievers is 1.194.

Thanks to pitch tracking data in Triple-A this year we can see how he’s performed against the different types of pitches that he’s faced this season.

Pitch Type  AVG SLG
4-Seam .290 .684
2-Seam .370 .593
Change .478 .739
Slider .361 .833
Curve .250 .375
Cutter .286 .714

Not that it’s all that bad, but Matt McLain has not hit the curveball nearly as well as he’s hit everything else. He’s basically crushed every other type of pitch he’s seen this year. Big league pitchers are better, more consistent, can locate better…. so it will be interesting to see how they pitch McLain and if they can find something that he’ll struggle with even a little bit, because in Triple-A they couldn’t do that. As for McLain…. is there a better place to get your start in the big leagues than Colorado?

You can see Matt McLain’s career stats here.

MLB Pipeline’s updated Top 100

The crew at MLB Pipeline have updated their Top 100 prospect list now that we are just over six weeks into the season. Some players have graduated from the list, others have fallen off, and some guys have vaulted themselves onto the list. The Cincinnati Reds didn’t graduate anyone from the Top 100 list, but they did have two players join the list.

Matt McLain jumped onto the list after his start to the year that we just talked about and he debuted on the list at #95. Left-handed pitcher Andrew Abbott joins him as a newcomer to the list and he’s the guy at the very end, coming in at #100. Abbott has now made seven starts on the season and has a 3.03 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A with 65 strikeouts and 10 walks in 35.2 innings. Triple-A hitters have hit five home runs against him in 20.0 innings and that’s come back to bite him a few times, but aside from the long ball struggles he’s pitched well for the Bats.

Elly De La Cruz is up to #4 on the list after being rated 10th when the season began. Noelvi Marte has also moved up to #23 after being #29 on the preseason list. Edwin Arroyo is up nine spots to #35 on the list. Cam Collier jumped up 13 spots to #56 on the list.

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23 Responses

  1. RedFuture

    Very glad to see his promotion and look forward to seeing him play SS.

    • Matt

      SS is not his best position! He should be playing 2nd, where his defense is great. He really isn’t anything more than average at SS. India needs moved to LF.

      • Frostgiant

        I see India a key piece of the Reds future. He does not have the pop to play LF imo. Not sure how all of this sorts itself out.

      • MBS

        India doesn’t have the glove to play 2B, so it appears we’re at a impasse. What’s going to happen with India is hard to predict. He could remain at 2B, which I think is the worst solution, or he could move to 3B, LF, or RF. The 2nd worst solution, and perhaps the most likely is he gets traded to make room for McLain, EDLC, and Marte. His value probably hasn’t been higher than it is today, and since the team isn’t committed to winning in 23 this is the likely route. Imo I’d love to see this in 24

        DH Steer / Senzel
        C Stephenson / Robinson
        1B CES / Stephenson
        2B McLain / Senzel
        3B Marte / Senzel
        SS EDLC / Barrero
        RF India / Hopkins
        CF Friedl / Barrero
        LF Fraley / Hopkins

        We’d be lacking bats from the left, but we don’t exactly have any one in the minors that’s close, and has an impact bat on the left. Maybe Benson will take a leap forward, but we’re likely waiting on Arroyo, Collier, Jorge, or Confidan.

  2. Matt

    About time! I think EDLC will be next. Wonder if it’ll be a Newman DFA or a Barrero option + someone else DFA or to the 60.

    • AllTheHype

      What would Bell do if he cannot say “Hello, Newman” to every lineup card? Writing another name would be horrifying and lead to sleepless nights, potentially.

  3. Mike in Ottawa

    Start the clock on fans turning on McClain when he hits .220 with 5 HR the rest of this season. Especially when Bell gives AB’s to Newman. When McClain slumps.

    • Stock

      I disagree. I think McLain is the real deal. I would not count him out on winning rookie of the year. No one has stepped up to this point. Outman had a good April but has come back down to earth in May. Corbin Carroll is the man to beat but I am not sure he can match McLain’s power. McLain also has the advantage of hitting in GABP.

  4. RedBB

    What. the hell does CES need to do to make the Top 100 list?? He was literally the best hitter in all of MLB spring training and is still crushing it in AAA. And there are a lot worse defenders on that list than CES

    • 2024WSChamps

      Agreed. CES continues to be slept on for no reason. Sure his K/BB is out of whack. Who really cares when you still hit .300 and over 30 bombs?

      • MK

        CES, no one is sleeping on him. The guy has spent 20% of one season above A ball coming into 2023.He really has not established himself defensively at any position. Don’t want to retard his defensive development by bringing him up to DH. If he is still hitting mid-season they should consider a move, but for now he needs the experience he is getting. If you will recall Votto spent extra time in AAA, not for his bat but because his defense was not major league ready, and that worked out.

    • AllTheHype

      23:2 K:BB is not good. He def needs to improve that. He would get exposed in MLB with the increased ability of pitchers to miss bats.

      • RedBB

        We’re talking about making the Top 100 prospect list not making the MLB All Star game. I could have said the exact same thing about Elly last week when he had like 2 walks and 20 strikeouts.

    • Stock

      I agree with their top 5 ranking. My only difference is I have McLain at #2 and they have him at #4.

      1. EDLC
      2. McLain
      3. Marte
      4. Collier
      5. Abbott
      6. Petty
      7. CES

      CES has the same problem he had last year. His K/BB ratio is so high he will be crushed by ML pitching. If he came up right now he would have a 35% – 40% K% and struggle to hit .150. He is not a top 100 prospect at this point.

    • Redsvol

      CES not ready for big boy ball. Major league pitchers will figure him out real quick if he already can’t control the strike zone in AAA. MLB pitchers have really good control. He needs to show some better plate discipline. But he is developing rapidly.

  5. MK

    Assuming McLain starts tonight and Senzel is at third, the Reds will have their own 1st round draft picks at P, C, 2B, SS, 3B.That is pretty good drafting.

    • DaveCT

      Plus a #1, Lodolo, in the rotation, Fairchild, a #2, Friedl considered a possible #2-3 before being scooped up, Santillan a #2, an old guy named Joey a #2, Ashcraft a #5, Antone a #5, and Diaz a #12. Just for fun. Ben Lively, a #4 Reds pick.

    • Jonathan

      That is a great point MK….goes against the narrative that the Reds don’t draft very well.

      • Doug Gray

        The Reds biggest issue with regards to the draft is that they haven’t selected a true star player in now over two decades.

  6. Redsvol

    Kudos to Matt McLain on his promotion. He is ready and we need his bat in the lineup badly. Hopefully Friedl won’t be out too long because that guy is the player that makes the offense go.