CINCINNATI -- The transition from college to professional baseball appeared to be a mostly smooth one for Reds shortstop prospect Matt McLain. Taken 21st overall in the 2021 MLB Draft out of UCLA, McLain played 29 games for Class A Dayton after getting back up to speed over a couple of weeks in Arizona.
“I think the biggest [thing] is you’re playing every day,” McLain said on Thursday. “[I learned] what I need to do a night after a game, the day before a game, how to feel my body the right way and have that consistent mindset so my play can translate consistently. I think that was the biggest thing for me that I learned in that month, even though I need to refine it and make it better, but I did learn a lot in that aspect.”
McLain, 22, is ranked by MLB Pipeline as Cincinnati’s No. 3 prospect and No. 92 overall. He was in town Thursday and visited Great American Ball Park with his family and his agent Scott Boras, and he was slated to watch the Reds play the Nationals. During the afternoon, the group also toured the Reds Hall of Fame.
“That was awesome,” McLain said. “We were in there for about an hour. We got to see a lot of stuff. Got to see all the World Series trophies and the broad history of the Reds. It was really cool for us to see.”
In his first game for Dayton, on Aug. 11 at Lansing, McLain went 4-for-5 with a home run and five RBIs.
“I was just ready to play baseball and have fun,” he said. “I was excited to get out there because it was a while since college when I was playing.”
McLain batted .273/.387/.424 at Dayton with three homers and 19 RBIs. He played exclusively at shortstop for the Dragons.
“Once I started to play every day, it was good to get into a rhythm, seeing different kinds of arms every single day and just going out and having fun playing baseball,” McLain said.
Moreta kept confident
Reliever Dauri Moreta’s first big league callup to the Reds came on Wednesday near the end of the 2021 regular season. But the right-hander had maintained faith for a while that the chance would come.
“When Spring Training started this year, I knew in my mind 100 percent that I was going to play here,” Moreta said. “That’s why I worked hard in the offseason. I had to be ready for this moment. I knew this is my year and I was ready.”
Moreta, 25, had a 1.02 ERA in 42 appearances between Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville this season. After his promotion to Louisville in July, his first 24 2/3 innings were scoreless before finally giving up runs in his last two appearances – on Sept. 17 and 19.
“I think when you work hard and you know exactly what you want, everything goes well,” said Moreta, who was called up before Wednesday’s rained-out game vs. the Pirates when Mike Moustakas was placed on the 10-day injured list with right foot plantar fasciitis.
The Reds signed Moreta out of the Dominican Republic in 2015. When his promotion came, he missed the call from Louisville manager Pat Kelly because he was at home in the shower.
“The manager called me a few times. I didn’t answer,” Moreta said. “Then the trainer called me and I called the manager back and he told me. I was excited and thankful.”
As a Minor League camp player, Moreta appeared in five big league Spring Training games for the Reds and posted a 3.00 ERA.
“We did get to know him a little bit in Spring Training. He pitched well,” Reds manager David Bell said. "Sometimes, there is so much going on in Spring Training -- to be honest, I don’t know that I recognized how good he did and how well he was throwing the ball, because he took it into the season. He had just an outstanding season. No matter what level it’s at, to pitch the way he did is a great accomplishment. It’s not just the results -- the stuff is there, the velo. I’m excited to see him pitch here. He’ll get an opportunity here -- maybe the rest of the season. It will be great experience for him going into next season.”
Miley moved back to Monday
Wednesday’s rainout prompted a rotation adjustment heading into the series vs. the Nationals. Missing from the four-game series was left-hander Wade Miley, who has been bothered by a stiff neck. Bell moved Miley’s next start to Monday’s rescheduled game vs. the Pirates.