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.
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?
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.