The Reds have agreed to a deal with first-round draft pick Matt McLain, the team announced. MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis (via Twitter) reports that the UCLA shortstop will receive a bonus of $4.625MM, well above the $3,609,700 assigned slot price for the 17th overall pick.
This marks the second time that McLain (who turns 22 in August) has been a first-round selection, as the Diamondbacks took him 25th overall back in 2018. Rather than begin his pro career out of high school, McLain went to play college ball at UCLA and ended up elevating his draft profile, despite a broken thumb that shortened his 2021 season.
The Athletic’s Keith Law ranked McLain as the seventh-best prospect of this year’s draft class, and in fact the pundits (Baseball America ranked him 10th, Fangraphs 11th, MLB Pipeline 12th, ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel 15th) all had McLain slightly higher on their boards than the 17th overall selection. McLain’s throwing arm, hit tool, and running ability are all graded as pluses by BA and Pipeline, though his according to Baseball America’s scouting report, “his fringe-average raw power will likely translate more to doubles with a wood bat and limit him to 10-15 home runs per season.” Defensively, McLain has improved his stock as a shortstop, though there is some feeling that he might eventually be ideally suited as a second baseman, or perhaps even as a center fielder given his athleticism.