Matt McLain

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Matthew Michael McLain

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Biographical Information[edit]

Infielder Matt McLain was the 25th pick of the 2018 amateur draft, selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 1st round out of a high school in California. He was considered one of the top high school players in the country, and had the talent to be a top-10 pick, but he was expected to be a tough sign because of a strong commitment to attend UCLA. Still the D-Backs took a chance and drafted him, given they had rated him very highly and hoped to be able to dissuade him from going to college. However, at the end of the day, the two sides could not agree on a deal, as Arizona was not prepared to go much over the slot value of the pick in putting together a signing bonus, and McLain headed to UCLA.

He hit just .203 in his freshman season, but also played 61 games in one of the top programs in the country, competing against more seasoned competition. In 2020, he was off to a great start, hitting .397 in his first 13 games when the Coronavirus pandemic brought the season to a premature end. In the 2021 amateur draft, he was drafted #17 overall by the Cincinnati Reds after batting .333 with 9 homers and 36 RBIs in 47 games as a junior (he missed three weeks with a fractured thumb). He could not play in the minors in 2020, and started his pro career the next year but played just 31 games before the ACL Reds and Dayton Dragons, batting .283/.389/.462.

On April 17, 2022, he hit for the cycle for the AA Chattanooga Lookouts, needing just 7 pitches to achieve the feat. He went 4 for 4, scored 3 runs and drove in as many in a 7-6 win over the Birmingham Barons. He hit a two-run homer on the first pitch he saw in thwe 1st, singled in the 3rd on the second pitch, drove the first pitch for a double to the warning track in the 5th and came in to score, then grinded out two pitches before hitting the triple in the 7th. He was off to a fast start, batting .344 and slugging .875 in his first eight games. He hit .232/.363/.453 in 103 games that season, with 21 doubles and 17 homers. On May 4, 2023, he again hit for the cycle, this time at the AAA level with the Louisville Bats in a 12-10 win over the Omaha Storm Chasers; in that game, teammate Christian Encarnacion-Strand, hitting behind him in the line-up, banged three homers in what was an extremely rare combination. When he made his major league debut with the Reds two weeks later on May 15th, starting at shortstop and batting second against the Colorado Rockies, he became the first player from the first round of the 2021 draft to reach the majors, although 11th-round selection Chase Silseth had preceded him by a year and two days as the first player from the draft to make it. In his debut, he went 1 for 4 and scored 2 runs in a 9-8 loss. He quickly claimed a starting job for the surging Reds, and was hitting an even .300 after 50 games at the All-Star break as the regular shortstop. On July 21st, he hit his first career grand slam, hit off Justin Martinez of the Diamondbacks in the 5th inning of an 8-6 win.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Further Reading[edit]

  • Jesse Borek: "Cycle AND a 3-homer game? Triple-A Louisville brings the lumber: Reds' Nos. 5 and 6 prospects combine for seven hits, nine RBIs on double milestone day",, May 4, 2023. [1]
  • Steve Gilbert: "D-backs unable to sign top pick: Prep shortstop McLain expected to play collegiately at UCLA",, July 6, 2018. [2]
  • Mark Sheldon: "Reds draft UCLA shortstop McLain at No. 17",, July 12, 2021. [3]
  • Nick Trujillo: "McLain hits for the cycle on seven pitches",, April 17, 2022. [4]

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