By Conrad Clowers
Herald Sports Writer
Every once in a while, the Red will find a stud. Someone that makes an immediate impact on the team and on MLB for that matter. People such as Joey Votto, Johnny Cueto, and Adam Dunn are some of those diamonds. This year, there is no doubt Matt Mclain could be one of the next Big Reds to do big things. He’s only been around for a short time, but the new Reds’ shortstop is tearing it up. Mclain is hitting .380 with 2 home runs and 8 RBI’s.
The new Reds shortstop has West Coast upbringing. He attended Beckman High School in Irvine, California. The future Red found high school baseball very little of a challenge. Professional teams took notice of Mclain’s skill set. Right out of high school, the Arizona Diamondbacks were the first to try and get their hands on Mclain. He was selected 25th overall by the team in the 2018 draft. Mclain at that time would say thanks, but no thanks. He would instead opt to enroll at UCLA and play baseball.
The draft would once again come calling 3 years later. This time it would be the Reds who would go after Mclain. Cincy got the UCLA star with the 17th overall pick. He would steadily have strong numbers and steadily be promoted. The California native would eventually be promoted to the Louisville Bats to begin the 2023 season. In just 38 games, young Mclain tore the cover off the ball. He would hit .348 with 12 home runs and 40 RBI’s. The Reds’ MLB version was struggling with any type of hitting and consistency. He would finally get the call up to join the Reds MLB squad.
Sometimes players come up to the bigs, find out they’re not ready, and get sent back down to the minors. This has not been the case with Mclain. The youngster has seized the moment. He has been as advertised and has solidified the Reds squad.
His batting average has actually increased from the minors to the majors. Mclain may have only been in town less than a month and will likely not hit .380 for the season. Manager David Bell Likes what he sees in the young 23-year-old. It looks like Cincinnati may have found their next shortstop.
The Reds have moved into third place in the National League Central division and are only 4 games out of first place. A big part is the stability the Californian has brought to the team. It may be only a small sample size, but the team likes what they see. For a young team that has had little success, anything positive will be a welcome surprise.