Cherry picking statistics is an endlessly enjoyable thing to do. Does it tell a complete story? Of course not! Still, it can give you a fun way of interpreting just what someone has been up to over a set period of time, and when it comes to Cincinnati Reds prospect Matt McLain, well, you can have yourself a ball all day.
Let’s just take what he’s done over his most recent 27 game stretch entering play today. That’s a 124 PA sample, for the record, in which time he socked 10 homers, 10 doubles, and a triple en route to a .414/.524/.838 overall line. That’s good for a 1.363 OPS in that span, in which time he walked more times (21) than he struck out (20).
Given that he’s long been thought of as a top prospect, it was only a matter of time before he was called up by the Cincinnati Reds in the midst of their epic rebuild. According to Bobby Nightengale of The Enquirer, among many others, that time has officially arrived.
The Reds are promoting prospect Matt McLain to the majors for their upcoming series against the Rockies. He was their first-round pick in 2021. https://t.co/6OPic6BpFP— Bobby Nightengale (@nightengalejr) May 15, 2023
McLain, 23, has spent time at both shortstop and 2B so far this year, while he’s got some CF experience under his belt, too - particularly while in college. Twice a 1st round draft pick, it’s been his bat that has long been held in high regard, something that’s played out in a big, big way already this year, but he’s also viewed as both a cromulent defender and baserunner, too. Where he’ll fit in for the time being remains to be determined, but I’d wager he’ll be right atop the team’s depth chart at short beginning tomorrow.
After all, the 54 wRC+ posted by the collective core of Cincinnati shortstops entering play on Sunday ranked as the 2nd worst in all of baseball, with only whatever Oakland has been serving up ranking worse. It’s enough to make you wonder if a) Kevin Newman will get the ol’ DFA to make way for McLain or if b) Jose Barrero will get optioned to AAA. That said, if I had to make a guess, it’ll be TJ Friedl hitting the IL with his oblique issue so the Reds can kick the tougher decisions down the road for the time being, with Barrero becoming an increasing option in the outfield mix while we all hope he somehow, some way remembers how to hit a baseball again.
Welcome to the fold, Matt! Congrats, and keep on smackin’ dingers!