Matt McLain is on his way to the big leaguess.
That means the shortstop will make his major-league debut for the Reds in Colorado on Monday night. The Reds announced the promotion Monday morning.
The 23-year-old McLain was Cincinnati’s first pick in the 2021 MLB Draft and 17th overall.
The UCLA product is third in the International League with a .348 batting average and tied for second with 12 home runs. McLain’s .474 on-base percentage and .710 slugging percentage are second in the league, giving him the No. 1 OPS at 1.184.
He is enjoying a much better season in Triple-A than he did in Double-A Chattanooga last season when he had a slash line of .232/.363/.453, and his hot start to the 2023 season led him to moving into the top 100 prospects in baseball per MLB.com.
That site ranks him 95th overall and fifth among Reds prospects.
Fortified by multiple trades last season and the addition 2023 first-round pick Cam Collier, the Reds have six players in the top 100: Shortstop Elly De La Cruz (4th overall), shortstop Noelvi Marte (23), shortstop Edwin Arroyo (35), third baseman Collier (56), McLain and left-handed pitcher Andrew Abbott (100).
Regarded as a good athlete, McLain also has 10 stolen bases in 38 games (after stealing 27 bags in 103 games last season) and could play either middle infield spot in the short or long term considering the plethora of shortstops the Reds have in their system.
The 5-foot-8, 180-pounder was generally considered more of a contact hitter coming out of college, but he has displayed more power than expected in his time in the minor leagues.
RedsMinorLeagues.com rated him the club’s No. 6 prospect heading into the season and notes his strikeout rate dropped from 28.1 percent in Double-A last season to 19.7 percent so far this season in Triple-A.
Reds fans are hoping McLain will be the first of multiple call-ups this season.
De La Cruz is also in Triple-A, where he has been scorching over the last couple of weeks since returning from a preseason injury, along with Abott and infielder Christian Encarnacion-Strand.
Who McLain replaces remains to be seen.
Former prospect Jose Barrero is batting .223 with one home run and 30 strikeouts in 31 games while veteran free-agent addition Kevin Newman is hitting .237 with two home runs and two doubles in 28 games.
They each have a pair of errors and sport fielding percentages of .976 and .975, respectively.
To make room on the active roster, the Reds placed outfielder T.J. Friedl on the 10-day injured list retroactive to Friday when he suffered a left oblique strain.
The club also transferred Joey Votto to the 60-day IL, making room on the 40-man roster for McLain.