Today’s Cincinnati Reds Notebook is going to be quite heavy on the minor league side of things, but after an off day for the big league club, that’s just how it’s going to be. The first thing to cover, though, is quite bit league related.

Matt McLain joined the Reds in Colorado after just destroying the ball in Triple-A. McLain, the Reds 1st round pick in 2021 out of UCLA, was promoted while having the best OPS in all of minor league baseball. While the infielder wasn’t bad in 2022 in Double-A Chattanooga, he did have some struggles in some areas. He didn’t hit for much average – just .232, and followed that up by hitting just .190 in the Arizona Fall League – and he struck out at a much higher rate than was expected from him as he came out of the draft – his strikeout rate was 28.1%.

This morning Fangraphs updated their Top 100 prospect list a little bit, and Matt McLain made a huge jump. He went from unranked (and 7th rated Reds prospect) to being ranked 44th overall (and 2nd on the Reds list). Eric Longenhagen, Fangraphs lead prospect writer, details some swing changes that McLain has made this season and how it’s helped him on fastballs and allowed him to both make more contact and allow his power to play. His 28.1% strikeout rate from Double-A dropped to 19.7% in Triple-A this season before his call up. The power also took a huge step forward, going from above-average to elite (at least in terms of the numbers he was putting up).

Elly De La Cruz says he’s ready

Last night in Louisville, Elly De La Cruz went 1-3 with a double, two steals, and two walks. The two walks gave him 13 on the month to go with just 15 strikeouts. He’s been working hard on his pitch selection and it’s been paying off in a big way.

He started the season ice cold, going 1-21 with 11 strikeouts and no walks after he was activated from the injured list. In the next 95 plate appearances he’s gone out and hit .360/.453/.733 for Louisville. On Thursday he told’s Sam Dykstra that “Everything’s ready. We’re just waiting for that call to get us up there” – and it’s tough to look at what he’s doing this season and say that he’s not right.

It’s Mock Draft season

The Cincinnati Reds have the 7th overall pick in the 1st round this year. And as we get closer to the end of both the high school and college baseball seasons, the draft begins to look a little more clear. Jonathan Mayo of MLB Pipeline released his most recent mock draft yesterday. In this version he has Cincinnati selecting Noble Meyer – a right-handed pitcher out of Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon.

51 Responses

  1. AMDG

    I think I’d rather see the Reds draft Jacob Gonzalez out of Ole Miss – primarily because this organization could certainly use another prospect at SS 😉

    • 2024WSChamps

      Someone mentioned it in the comments, but I really think the Reds will consider trading Senzel if he keeps playing well. We desperately need pitching. I don’t want to see Senzel on the OF ever again, and the Reds need to open up an infield spot for EDLC. I can’t imagine the Reds traded away India with how much control he has left. He is already a face of the franchise, and is hitting the ball well. This off-season, the Reds will need to figure out a new plan for India/Steer, and find a way to add another SP for the rotation

      • DataDumpster

        Now that we see the “Big 3” is not bigger at this point and that the Cessa/Overton gambits are merely dust now, looks like a trade for a SP is nearly inevitable.
        2 of the 3 (India, Senzel and Steer) will probably need to be wrapped up on this.

      • jon

        With Votto and Moose off the books the Reds should have the money 2 add 2 nice vet. pitchers but probably add just 1.

      • Matt

        Senzel doesn’t need moved. He stays at 3rd and EDLC goes to SS, where he has fielded the best. McLain’s best position is 2nd base and Ondia is horrendous there! Move India to LF and the problem is solved. Edwin Arroyo, Friedl, Steer if you don’t want a utility infielder can be traded for pitching and a real outfielder.

  2. redsfan10

    So basically Elly is ready, CES, and mclain are smacking the ball around as well…

    The only reason they aren’t up IMO is consistent at-bats…

    Where does senzel go after being solid
    Steer is solid (UTL role? plays DH/1B/2B/3B)?

    Personal opinion look your trying to win each year, we have to win and be somewhat like the rays….

    Trade India and Senzel (latter years of service and net us pitchers which WE NEED).
    Newman and myers release or trade if you can find one…

    2B McLain
    CF frediel
    SS Elly
    1B CES
    LF Fraley
    3B Steer
    RF Fairchild/Hopkins/maybe Barrero (trade/UTL/RF)
    C Stephonson/Whoever too many at this point
    DH any spot any player whatever (2024 will feture in mixing in Marte at 3B)

    Seems extremely good IMO. I am super curious what trade we could work with trading India, Senzel, and possible Barrero???

    2 quality players, 1 with potential for 1 high end SP prospect or veteran SP….India has to be worth a lot….

    • SlippinJimmy

      As much as I like India, and he is hitting great this year, I think a trade should at least be considered if it’s for the best of the team. Would need to be a really solid deal though. Maybe Senzel too if he brings something decent in return. And Stephenson, as I’ve said previously.

      I think the only thing you’ll get back for Barrero is a used Chipotle gift card.

      • SlippinJimmy

        And as good as India has been leading off, I actually think Friedl might represent an even better choice when he’s healthy. Then you could start L, R, L R.

      • Votto4life

        I really like Nick Senzel, but honestly I don’t think he would bring back much in a trade. I think there is more value in keeping him.

      • jon

        Reds would get more for Barrero than Senzel.

    • Votto4life

      Over the winter, Nick Krall said the Reds would be “much younger” by the end of the 2023 season. I look for EDLC and CES up after the trading deadline. Of course, if the Reds continue to struggle at the game, maybe it will be sooner. I’m looking for seeing them both whenever it happens I will be there.

    • Randoxu1

      There is no way in the world i’m trading India or Senzel. We have waited this long for Senzel to produce and in my opinion if they wouldnt have screwed around with the outfield and just put him at third we wouldn’t be talking about him. First off trade Barerro, seen enough no baseball IQ and hes about 10th behind all the top prospects and then dump Will Meyers. Bring up CES and EDLC. So we are going trade some more good players and get exactly what in return. Nobody is giving up good starting pitching to get India or Senzel. They have some very good position players but im not giving them up for more pitching prospects that never pan out. Spend some money on pitching.

      • 2020ball

        Someone needs to be on the bench, I’m not sure why that can’t be Barrero since he’s controllable and can play multiple positions and is a passable defender.

        I dont see why a team wouldnt give good pitching for India.

        Meyers isn’t blocking anyone so I dont see a need to destroy our already paper thin OF depth.

        Spend money though, I’m 100% on board there.

    • Rob

      Let’s analyze the reasons for a trade. The primary reason would be you want to compete this year and not wait on next year. Lessens the need for free agents next year too. The next thing is who are you most valuable trade pieces. And who are you willing to give up. Looking at Colorado, I would think you could get Kris Bryant for Marte plus a lesser prospect. Unless the Rockies decide they are going for the pennant this year.

      • Tom Reeves

        I wouldn’t trade Senzel or India because if Senzel and India play as well next year as they are this year, that’s going to help a ton.

        But, I do think with Senzel, India, Barraro, Steer, McClain, CES, and EDLC, the best bats need to play. And the next gloves need to play in the field. Well, that puts Barraro on the bench and it puts India either in LF, RF or DH.

      • VegasRed

        Kris Bryant is overrated and overpaid. Injury prone and not that productive for the money and commitment in contract years.

        Other than that why do you want him?

    • Chris

      I can see McLain going to the OF. He’s got a lot of college experience out there. Senzel isn’t going anywhere imo.

  3. David

    I think that whoever the Reds draft would be fine.

    Except don’t draft anybody named “Nick”. That seems to be bad juju for the Reds.

    And yes, I expect them to draft a top-rated pitcher in the draft. It takes several high draft pick pitchers for ONE to make it to the Majors and be successful.

    I have no idea what the quality of this draft class is, but in terms of players, I would expect the Reds to draft a LOT of pitchers, relatively speaking. I would assume that when the draft picks come up, they have scouted plenty of players and will pick the “best” player available with that particular pick.

    • Votto4life

      I also expect the Reds to draft a lot of pitching. But I’m not sure they can draft their way out of their current pitching woes.

      By the time this year draftees make it to the big leagues, McLain, CES and EDLC will be closing in on free agency. They are just going to have to buy or trade for pitching.

      • David

        Yes, unless they get a “pheenom” like Don Gullet, who was pitching relief for the 1970 Reds at 19 years of age (and did pretty well, too!) and at 20 was starting, and won 16 games, it will be years before this pays off.
        I think Gary Nolan was also pitching for the Reds at 18 or 19. It used to happen.

      • Oldtimer

        Nolan and Gullett pitched for Reds at 19. Nolan out of baseball at 29. Gullett out of baseball at 27.

        Maloney pitched for Reds at 20. Out of baseball at 31.

        O’Toole pitched for Reds at 21. Out of baseball at 29.

  4. SlippinJimmy

    It’s okay Elly, “Manager #25” wouldn’t want to play you anyway. Maybe one day he would put you at SS batting 3rd, then another day at Catcher batting 8th, or yet another selling hot dogs or hats.

    It’s HIS team, and he wants to make (insert expletive or strongly emphasized word of your choosing here) sure we all know it!

    The Reds should draft a new manager. And if that is not possible, draft a pro wrestler to come elbow drop “he who shall not be named” off the top of the dugout. Maybe the newest iteration of Doink the Clown?

    • wkuchad

      Jimmy, you may have slipped on somethin and bumped your noggin.

  5. wolfcycle

    Draft a Pitcher, preferably a college arm unless somehow one of the 4 outfielders fall to us. I personally Like Rhett Lowder he is a bulldog on a top 5 team in the country. He could move through the system fast and knowing our ownership, we are not going to pay Lodolo and Ashcraft after already paying Green and they will come due at the same time.

  6. wolfcycle

    To add to that, I suggest trading India, Arroyo, and maybe Hinds to White Sox for Kopech and Luis Roberts. Lengthens our starting rotation and improves our outfield. Can put Matty mac at 2nd and I think our line up would be lengthened. White sox may be interested b/c Oscar Colas is ready to come up, they are going to trade Tim Anderson, they have a guy ready for ss but he will have to move to third and Arroyo should be ready by that time.

    • Votto4life

      I’m still upset the Reds missed out on Roberts as an international free agent. How nice would he look in the middle of the Red’s line up about now.

    • J

      I love how people say the Reds should trade these guys for these guys never mentioning it also takes the other team say the White Sox to also want to make a deal !! Both teams have to feel it makes them better

      • 2020ball

        India, CES, Arroyo, and Hinds would be closer to what I’d expect the Sox to want. Probably still not enough.

      • Jimbo44CN

        Trading INdia at this point this year is dare I say, idiotic. We have 3 good young pitchers which are trying to find their way. We are not close to being a playoff team yet, absolutely no point. And get who in return? Take a look at the IL for most teams and you will see that the highest percentage of players on the IL are pitchers. Every team needs pitching and have way more money to spend than the Reds. We need to keep on the path we are on, get our young guys playing time. Bring up Abbot in about July along with CES and Elly and see how it goes. NEXT year is the time to think about pitching if we need it, and then SPEND some money, not trade away our core players for what might be.

      • wolfcycle

        the white sox are talking about trading both of those players

  7. wkuchad

    I do not like rushing prospects. I prefer to bring them up when they’re ready. But it’s time to get De La Cruz up here now. If the Reds knew McLain, De La Cruz, and CES were all going to be tearing the cover off the ball at this point, I wonder if India or other infielders would have gotten reps in the outfield this spring training. Since none of those three have gotten any consistent reps in Louisville’s outfield, it seems the Reds don’t want to move them from the infield (but someone has to move to the outfield or get traded).

    Either way, it’s time to make room for EDLC at SS. I would like to see McLain at 2B and time to find out how India performs in the outfield.

  8. Mark Moore

    Line-up is posted. Barrero is in CF and Matt MaC is back at SS.

    • Melvin

      Barrero might actually get more ABs now that McLain is here. At least until Friedl gets back. It seems David Bell is more afraid to move MMc off of SS and Newman can’t play outfield. Looks like Fairchild is not getting rewarded for his two doubles and three RBI last game but instead the .202 Myers is in there. He (Fairchild) went from the #4 hitter to the bench pretty fast. 😀 Whatever. Go Reds! Beat them Yanks.

  9. Lee Roberts

    You have to give at least some consideration to the effect of any trade on team morale. I can’t shake the feeling (a very expert feeling, from a great many miles away 🙂 ) that India is this team’s heart. Trade him and I think you lose more than his baseball skills — maybe a lot more. And if you do just want to consider skills alone, well — India and Friedl may be one of the better leadoff combos in the game.

  10. Brian Rutherford

    Reading the comments and seeing people trading any of India, Senzel or Barrero drives me crazy. I’m sick of the Reds trading good players for potential lottery tickets. Find a way to get them all on the field.

    I get it that folks are trying to find solutions for the scenario the team finds itself in. I just wish they would do it without trading good players unless we are getting equally good players in return. We have gone the prospect route for awhile. Give us time to enjoy watching the good players on the Reds and not somewhere else.

    • wkuchad

      Brian, there’s not a lot of options:

      1) keep the prospects in Louisville
      2) move one of our infielders to the outfield
      3) trade an infielder for a starting pitcher of outfielder
      4) have someone that should be playing sitting on the major league bench

      • Brian Rutherford

        I understand and I believe that the athletes we have can play in the OF. I am curious what the hold up is. Maybe they are trying not to trample on egos which I’m sure is a delicate thing.

        India is arguably the teams best player, he may ask himself “Why should I lose my position? Let someone else move. I’ve earned this spot.”

        I don’t know what it is but I just don’t want to get de-pantsed in a trade.

      • wolfcycle

        one of the reason that I believe Senzel has been so injury prone is the move to the outfield. He had multiple hammy injuries as well as as injury running into the wall. He had never played of before cincy and his legs were not conditioned for it, and it is a craft to be able to deal with any wall, you develop an instinct. I know Robin Yount did it a long time ago and I think he won an MVP after moving to center, but, that is not the norm.

    • 2020ball

      My preference would be to use prospects to acquire anyone, but theres a serious logjam developing in the infield. The teams talk at the time was guys at SS can play in the OF, but ive seen no movement on it. The easiest thing to do is move McClain there, im pretty hesitant to move India anywhere.

      • 2020ball

        I’d also consider Senzel in the OF and McClain for 3B. Out of need, not out of Senzel not proving himself there.

  11. Melvin

    What to do? What to do? I have no idea what they’re going to do. I just know that EDLC, CES, MMc, TS, Steer, Senzel, Votto, India and Barrero cannot play on the infield at the same time and therefor cannot get regular every day ABs there. That’s what I know. 🙂 Then you have Friedl as the only “lock” in the outfield.

    • David

      You are being logical, there’s no problem there.
      The Reds will have to prioritize these guys, in some way.
      Jon India’s “natural” position was 3rd base, and he is not the greatest defensive 2nd basemen out there.
      McClain can be a very good defensive 2nd baseman. EDLC wants to prove he can play SS. I say he gets the chance.
      Nick Senzel is a very, very good fielding 3rd baseman, but after years of struggle, only NOW is he proving himself with the bat. Because he is healthy, or because he is comfortable at his natural position?
      CES and Steer can play 1st base or DH, either or.
      Barrero is a talented young man, but he has not quite shown it yet. Maybe he is a utility infielder guy, and plays some CF too (like tonight).
      Votto will be gone after this year, very likely.
      And yes, as others have commented, maybe Jon India would be open to playing Left Field. But as others have said, he is also probably the Reds best player right now, and is really a team leader. I want to keep him, but he might want to get out and try free agency when the time comes.
      Trade Senzel or trade India? Tough choice, as I want to see a lot more of Nick Senzel, 2023 edition before I decide, as a mythical Major League General Manager.

    • MBS

      The #/9 is the amount of starts each player has at a particular position. They’d all recieve 7 of 9 starts.

      DH Open for Hot Bat 8/9 India 1/9
      C Stephenson 5/9 Casali 4/9
      1B CES 7/9 Stephenson 2/9
      2B India 6/9 McLain 3/9
      3B Senzel 7/9 EDLC 2/9
      SS EDLC 5/9 McLain 4/9
      RF Myers 6/9 Fraley 3/9
      CF Fairchild 7/9 Fraley 2/9
      LF Steer 7/9 Fraley 2/9
      (Friedl replaces Fairchild when he gets back)

      DH Steer 4/9 Barrero 5/9
      C Stephenson 6/9 Robinson 3/9
      1B CES 8/9 Stephenson 1/9
      2B McLain 8/9 Barrero 1/9
      3B Senzel 8/9 Barrero 1/9
      SS EDLC 8/9 Barrero 1/9
      RF India 8/9/ Steer 1/9
      CF Friedl 8/9 Steer 1/9
      LF Fraley 7/9 Steer 2/9
      Senzel might lose his spot in 24 to Marte

  12. 2020ball

    What I’ve noticed reading everyones responses is a lot of moving parts. That these guys can be considered for a lot of different combinations bodes well, maybe better than people are realizing. Some people have guys locked in a certain spot (such as India at 2B or Senzel at 3B) but I’m more willing to move guys around. I’d hesitate the most to move India, but I’m open to it, and Id consider 3B now and LF maybe next season. I have no issues with playing Senzel in the OF, same with Barrero. The injury risk and affect on his offensive profile is waaaaay overblown IMO, his highest ceiling is as a UTIL so I use him like one.

    • 2020ball

      that last sentence can apply to Barrero too, but I meant it for Senzel.

  13. Old-school

    I dont think theres an urgency here to figure things out. Senzel is playing well and he should play regularly at 3b. McLain should play regularly at SS and 2b some . India plays 2b regularly and dh once a week and rest once a week
    Steer is first base and DH
    Barrero plays SS twice a week and CF twice a week. When EDLC comes up he plays SS 4 days a week 3b twice a week and rests once. CES plays first base and DH.

    See how things play out

    Long season and injuries happen

    I might let Steer be Fraleys platoon partner in LF as he flexes from 1b and DH . Myers and Newman will be gone in 2 months so let 2023 play out and give all
    These guys regular reps

  14. Eddiek957

    Almost everyone needs pitching. Senzel india Steere none of those guys are going to bring us back someone to get excited about

    • Melvin

      Yeah. Good pitching is not exactly in abundance out there. It would take a “haul” to get it like the Reds wanted last year.

  15. William

    Trade India for pitching. I like India as much as anyone, but there is just too much depth. McClain is his replacement at second. I would keep Senzel and start him at third until Marte is ready. I do not think the Reds can get a good enough deal for Senzel. I like the way he plays 3B defensively and his clutch hitting ability. C – Stephenson; 1B/DH- CES (love this player); 1B/DH – Steer; 2B – McClain; SS – De La Cruz (superstar) ; 3B – Senzel (eventually Marte); Outfield (to be determined) I am for a 20 million dollar free agent (wishful thinking); CF – Friedl; LF – Fraley (against right handed pitching) I am not satisfied with the outfield. It is a work in progress.