Cincinnati Reds rookie Matt McLain has made hitting in the MLB look easy throughout his first 37 games in the big leagues. The 23-year-old has a .325 batting average and a .921 OPS with 20 extra-base hits and 30 runs scored this season, establishing himself as a key bat in the first-place Reds lineup.
McLain was a good hitter in college and that immediately translated after he was drafted in the first round in 2021. Now that he can watch some of the league's best hitters up close, he's taking notes on how to improve against MLB pitching.
“When I watch the good hitters that we face – guys like Judge, Goldschmidt and Arenado – they’re so aggressive in their zone,” McLain said. “They’re not afraid to get to two strikes because they know they’re good with two strikes. You feel their aggressiveness when you’re on the field with them. You can feel the competitiveness of those guys and how bought in they are to their approach.”
There are plenty of world-class hitters that McLain can look to for adjustments, but starting with the two reigning MVPs (Aaron Judge and Paul Goldschmidt) and the guy with the most RBIs since his debut in 2013 (Nolan Arenado) is a good place to start.
McLain's numbers with two strikes this season are fairly decent. He has a .742 OPS and 10 extra-base hits. He had his best game yet with the Reds on Sunday, knocking four extra-base hits and driving in five of Cincinnati's runs in a 7-6 loss.
Matt McLain is one of the many rookies who have put on a show this season in the MLB. He has helped a Reds team race into first place in the NL Central and figures to be in the NL Rookie of the Year conversation for the rest of the season.