The Cincinnati Reds had a whole slew of rookies in 2023. Some of them performed better than others, but by-and-large they all performed well. And this week three of them were named by Baseball America to their All-Rookie team for 2023.

Matt McLain got the nod at second base, Spencer Steer was named to the squad as the designated hitter, and Andrew Abbott made the team as a starting pitcher.

McLain did not spend the entire season at second base, but he did spend 37 games there (53 at shortstop, and four more as the designated hitter). An oblique injury cost him the final month+ of the season. And he wasn’t called up until mid-May. That meant he didn’t get anywhere near a full season of big league playing time. Despite the fact that he wound up with under 100 games played he had 3.7 WAR. McLain provided value in all aspects of the game. He hit .290/.357/.507, showing off an ability to hit for both average and power. He also stole 14 bases and was good on the bases in non-steal situations. The infielder also showed off positive defense value up the middle.

Spencer Steer, unlike McLain, was with the big league club from day one. He actually spent a part of 2022 with the Reds – playing in 28 games down the stretch. In 2023 he played in 156 games for Cincinnati and hit .271/.356/.464 with 37 doubles, 3 triples, 23 home runs, 86 RBI, and he went 15-for-18 in stolen base attempts. While he was named as the DH on this particular list, that was more just a way to get him recognized and onto the team. Steer only had six games as the designated hitter for the Reds in 2023. He played a bit of everywhere, getting 45+ games (some partial as he switched positions during the game) at first base, third base, and left field. He would also see action at both second base and in right field.

Andrew Abbott didn’t even start the 2023 season in Triple-A. The lefty was assigned to Double-A Chattanooga when the year began, but he didn’t stay there very long. After just three starts with Chattanooga he moved up to Louisville and made seven more starts. At the beginning of June he was called up to Cincinnati and he never looked back. The left-handed starter made 21 starts for the Reds and posted a 3.87 ERA in 109.1 innings pitched. During that time he walked 44 batters and he 120 strikeouts. Abbott had a 2.7 WAR

50 Responses

  1. DataDumpster

    All well deserved. I liked McClain immediately after his first MLB game when he stretched a base hit into a double, scored, and make some sparkling plays in the field. He had some trouble getting badly fooled on some breaking balls, but this guy’s got it. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him have the most successful career of the current rookie class. Steer is quite a baller too, a mainstay for sure. As for Abbott, I’m not sure how he does it, but you have to be impressed. IMO, he was more consistent than any of the perhaps overvalued “Big 3.”

    • CI3J

      Abbott, I’m not sure how he does it, but you have to be impressed.

      Location and changing speeds.

      In other words, he knows how to actually pitch.

    • Danny

      It’s your right to not be impressed with Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft, or Abbott, but they all showed me enough for me to believe they will all be major league pitchers for many years, I’m also impressed with Williamson and Phillips. They are all still in learning mode, but they have already had some success, they have the tools they just need more time to find out what works and what needs more refinement.

  2. LDS

    Well deserved I’d say. Hopefully, CES and Marte continue next season as they ended this, and maybe EDLC gets the coaching he needs this off season and joins them. It’ll make the Reds fun to watch even if they don’t win enough – kind of like this year. And maybe a couple of guys down on the farm break out and make next year’s all rookie team.

    • MK

      When Marte was at Dayton a couple years ago I wasn’t always impressed with his effort. Maybe maturity has helped but I saw none of that issue with the 2023 version.

      • LDS

        My main concern with Marte is that EDLC was hitting about .300 through a similar number of PAs before essentially collapsing. Hopefully, Marte escapes that. I’m ready for the WS to be over and the off-season to begin. See if the Reds have anything going besides indulging Votto’s vanity tour.

      • Optimist

        The knock on Marte when he was in Seattle’s MiLB was that he was advanced for his age, and that the competition would catch up to him at some point – they were thinking AA or AAA. Yet, his MiLB career has been remarkably consistent, and continued into his MLB debut. He’s 22 next week, and while there will surely be some regression, there’s little reason to doubt he’ll settle in to a productive, and perhaps all-star, MLB role.

        He may be a good case where the analytics had it right from the start.

      • Harry Stoner

        Marte is one player.

        EDLC is another.

        They are two different people with two different approaches to hitting.

        Worrying about Marte because of what EDLC has or hasn’t done is going to even further extremes of inventive negativity.

      • LDS

        No @Harry, it’s not. The argument presented here and in the baseball media is that it took about that amount of time for the pitchers to catch up to EDLC’s weaknesses as they did Aquino’s (and others). So the question is whether Marte has better command of the MLB strike zone and pitch identification than EDLC or have the pitchers just not caught up with him? It’s a reasonable question. And for the record @Harry, achieving a command position in the Corps is an accomplishment as is achieving a significant management position in corporate America. You seem obsessed with treating baseball as if it was the domain of super humans and real world knowledge isn’t applicable. Sorry but those glasses are far too rose colored for reality.

      • greenmtred

        LDS and Harry: I think you’re both right: Marte and Elly aren’t the same player, but it’s possible that MLB pitchers will find and exploit weaknesses in Marte’s approach as they did with Elly’s. There is another factor, perhaps: courtesy of Chris Welch, I need to add, Elly developed bad habits including moving his head and lengthening his swing. He seemed to correct this during the final few games of the season, so there’s hope. If Marte can avoid bad habits, he may be harder for pitchers to exploit. Time will tell.

      • asing1

        Actually @LDS, you’re completely wrong in your assessment. Marte played 35 games and was nearly 40 pts higher in both OBP and OPS than Elly was. His BA was also nearly 30 pts higher and both were close on the counting stats where Elly had 4 HRs and 16 RBI compared to Marte’s 3 and 15. The most important difference between the two players after 35 games comes down to their strikeouts, where Elly doubled Marte with 50 compared to 25. They’re both great players, but Marte didn’t show nearly the same deficiencies in his game than EDLC did. Here’s to hoping they both improve on it going into the 2024 season.

  3. Klugo

    Of all the young talent, and specifically rookies, to be excited about in Reds Country, and there’s a lot to be excited about, Marte is my favorite. I believe he’s gonna be an absolute nuisance to opposing teams for a long long time

  4. CI3J

    Surprised Benson wasn’t on the list, or is he not considered a rookie?

    • BK

      He was not a rookie–a few too many days on the 26-man roster in 2022.

  5. CI3J

    It’s really incredible that after years of failing, the Reds seem to have finally pulled off a successful rebuild.

    Just look at these players and their ages:

    CF Friedl (28)
    2B McLain (24)
    SS EDLC (21)
    DH Steer (25)
    3B Marte (21)
    1B CES (23)
    RF Fraley (28)
    C Stephenson (27)
    LF Benson (25)

    These are all players that are either in their prime years, or on the cusp of it. This team should absolutely be firing on all cylinders for the next 3 years before it’s time to start thinking about replacing the “geezers” Friedl, Fraley, and Stephenson.

    Exciting times in Reds land.

    • Old-school

      Krall said a year ago the roster in oct 2023 will look radically different than it does in october 2022

      Hes executed a brilliant roster reconstruction considering the financial restraints

      Pro scouting , international scouting, and amateur scouting all very good.

      • doofus

        I would not use the word “brilliant” for what Krall has accomplished. If he would have brought on reinforcements at the deadline that were successful in propelling the team into the playoffs, then I would use “brilliant.”

      • greenmtred

        You’re a tough judge, doofus. Others have pointed out that the pitchers actually traded at the deadline generally didn’t help the teams that acquired them.

  6. Mark Moore

    Very well deserved for all of them. I really like that they found a way to include Steer. He’ll get more than a couple RoY votes.

  7. Rick

    Congrats to those 3 young men for this accolade. Also, too the entire 2023 youth movement that made 2023 exciting for a portion of the season(yes, Friedl & Benson included). Also looks promising for the future with a core to add onto.
    McLain, I believe, has that DNA clutch gene that he showed glimpses of and will enrich on that once healthy and his pitch recognizition improves. Steer & McLain are my 2 favorite ones but we’ll likely have quiet a few players to bounce around too. I did that with the BRM as a young man, one week it’d be Rose or Morgan, Bench, Perez. Foster, Davie etc. Lol
    Bench when the dust settled, or was it Morgan??

  8. wkuchad

    Marte had 114 at-bats in 2023. I’m assuming that was enough to remove him from rookie status in 2024, correct?

    • Jason Franklin

      He should be. He had less then 45 days on the active roster and less then 130 ab’s. I think that is the requirements.

    • Amarillo

      Incorrect, the cutoff is 130 At Bats for 45 days. Marte has 44 days. They likely did this on purpose to retain his Rookie eligibility.

      • wkuchad

        Great news! Thanks for the clarification.

  9. Jim Delaney

    As much as I like the young talent with both lineup and young pitchers I want to see Reds be aggressive in winning in 2024. They had great opportunity in 2023 to make playoffs and failed.
    To make playoffs and be serious contenders in 2024 I think they need to be very aggressive in off season and acquire a middle of the order legit all star, at least one veteran starter, a back end reliever and a veteran swing man. They have the major league depth, supposedly available payroll and farm system to be aggressive.. We shall see what they do..

  10. GreatRedLegsFan

    Many ex-Reds in the postseason: Perez w/BAL, Chapman w/TEX, Gray, Solano & Farmer w/MIN, Pham w/ARZ, Iglesias w/ATL, Castellanos, Hoffman & Lorenzen w/PHI.

    • Kevin H

      Mahle with Minnesota as well albeit on injured list

  11. doofus

    It was fun watching Reds baseball this year.

  12. Kevin H

    De La Cruz is a 5 tool player who went through the pains of a major league season. As some said above he and Marte are different players.

    And Please can we stop putting Aquino and De La Cruz in the same sentence. They have nothing in common. Aquino had 1 good month. De La Cruz made adjustments as the season went on.

    • Bigbill

      Agreed. De la Cruz got into a bad habit of coming forward through his swing and it throws off his timing. The last week of the season saw him quiet down his movement and he got back to regularly hitting the ball hard in most at bats. This was extremely pronounced when he hit left handed. He became more linear than rotational which leaves you in a much more vulnerable position when the pitcher changes speeds on you. Usually happens when you get anxious.

      I am confident that he will correct this over the winter and get back to that original beautiful swing plane.

      • Randy in Chatt

        If we, as fans, can see some of the hitting flaws from afar, what is going on up close and personal. Are the coaches not seeing it, or are the hitters just not listening/applying the tips needed to get back on track. There are a lot of professional eyes watching these guys. What is going on?

        It reminds me of last year when Barry Larkin spotted a flaw in Kyle Farmer’s approach from the TV booth. His tip brought Farmer out of a slump. Did having an outside voice help Farmer or were the coaches unaware of what habit he got into.

  13. MBS

    Inner core: CES, EDLC, McLain, Greene, Abbott, Diaz

    Outer core: Steer, Benson, Marte, Ashcraft

    Man this team is deep, and they’re just getting deeper. I think the pitching will be as deep at the position players by 24, but definitely by 25.

  14. John J

    Just makes me super exited.

    So and I mean so much talent.

    My only question are you willing to move guys this offseason.
    I have read a trade proposal involving India, Fraley, and Senzel for a young controllable starter, or bullpen help or just getting farm help.

    From a position standpoint and starter standpoint this is my locks

    C Stephonson
    1b CES
    2b Mclain
    SS Elly
    3b Marte
    LF steer
    CF TJ
    RF Benson

    So DH or that other man does it go to India, Fraley, Votto, Martini, Dunn, McGarry? I heard mcgarry had a great ending and would be a great add. or we go to F/A

    My solution trade india, fraley and senzel. bring votto back and have him hit against righties as DH.

    I am only willing to move fraley because Dunn and that Jacob guy is coming up and both seem like ballplayers. martini and McGarry seem like guys that could impress to try and get more time as the season goes along. Injuries can happen as well but thats a MEATY lineup seriously

    CF TJ
    2b Mclain
    LF steer
    SS Elly
    1B CES
    RF Benson
    3B Marte
    DH Votto/martini/Dunn/Jacob/Mcgarry
    C TY Steve

    thats saying fraly and india are gone


    1. Greene
    2. Ashcraft
    3. Abbott
    4. Lodolo
    5. Williamson

    Phillips an option

    I still think it would be the move to sign a legit starter someone who we can actually rely on. Sonny Gray? sign him to a 2-3 year high salary and give a veteran leadership role to mentor the young kids.

    So exited Just feels like we have the tools this next year and all we need is a starter, JV, and 2-3 good bullpen adds.

    • Datdudejs

      I want them to go get Yamamoto very badly

    • TR#1

      Might have to offer Gray 3 years/$75 million and that might be short as he could get 4 years/$100 million from someone like STL. I think some people are going to be shocked at how much money these starting pitchers will sign for.

      • SultanofSwaff

        Sonny is 33. He’s a pass for me.

  15. Beaufort Red

    EDLC hitting clean up. You must have went to the Bell lineup structure 101. Worked real well this year.

    • ChrisInVenice

      I think next year’s EDLC is somewhere between the Elly of his first 6 weeks and the one of the last 6 weeks. If that’s the case, clean-up may be the right spot for him. I like the other guys in front of him, but also want him up in the order to utilize his speed (he is one the fastest guys in baseball.)

      If not, then likely CES in clean-up.

    • David

      @ Beaufort Red

      I think in a lot of the particulars about players (since many are pretty young), is that it “remains to be seen” what they do and how they perform.
      I know it is fun to speculate on the future roster and line-ups for 2024, but I don’t think most of these guys get handed a job now, just based on 2024.
      I would NOT bat EDLC 4th, because I would much PREFER that CES bat 4th, based on what he has shown in 2023. IF (!) EDLC becomes the player many think he will be, then he should actually bat 3rd in the lineup.

      I think Friedl should start. I think India should start (barring a trade, which I would not do). I think Stephenson should start, again barring a trade or getting someone else to catch. I think McLain, EDLC, Marte, Benson, CES… need to show up in Spring Training and prove that all the good stuff they did in 2023 was not a fluke (and I don’t mean that it was, but they still have things to prove). I think these young guys are very talented, and will make this a much better team in 2024. But they have to show up to Spring Training 2024 and show that they are ready. I want them to succeed, but nobody owes someone a job in the ML based on a few hundred AB’s as a rookie. Bernie Carbo had a great rookie season for the Reds in 1970, and after that, he was a total flop. Davey Concepcion had a decent rookie season in 1970, was kind of lousy offensively for about 2 years, and then switched to a lighter bat and took off in 1973. Nothing about a young player is a given.
      I would probably trade Fraley, because he is basically a one dimensional player…he hits right-handed pitching. He does not have a good approach to hitting a left handed pitcher, and he is not a good outfielder.
      I would also not try to sign a big-name free agent position player. I don’t think that is needed.
      I would try to sign a very good free-agent starting pitcher. The Reds still have holes in the starting rotation, IMHO.
      They also need to upgrade the overall quality of their bullpen. A couple free agents or trades could do that.
      But I actually expect the Reds’ “Top Men” to do next to nothing in this off-season.

      • Optimist

        Good post, and a few comments. Carbo didn’t flop so much as self destruct – I guess you don’t know who is susceptible, but this bunch seems to be very well adjusted, and able to adjust. To the extent analytics matter, there are strong fundamentals amongst them, with perhaps EDLC needing the most adjustment, but his skill level makes him useful even with minor improvements.

        Finally, the “top men” have to do something this off season, and they’ve been signalling as much. At worst, I’d expect trades for average MLB talent – at best, above average FA signings. Below-worst would be another round of reliever tryouts for aging or borderline types, but that’s doubtful since they don’t need to do so anymore.

  16. TR

    The Reds are loaded with young talent and the future is positive with some sorting still needed for the starting nine along with adjustments to the starting and relief pitching. I would hope that management will emphasize an all out effort to win each game based on playing those who are getting it done at the moment by decreasing concern with playing time for all on the roster and the almost constant need for handiness. The talent is there. Play those who are getting it done with the intent to win each game. This dedicated, eager fanbase needs a championship.

  17. rednat

    count me as being skeptically optimistic.
    do we trust the reds organization enough to develop these young players? will they stay healthy? it would be naïve not to be a little pessimistic about these guys based on our history since moving to gabp.
    besides Votto, Bruce and Suarez we really haven’t been able to develop anybody. either the league “figures them out” (Hamilton, Stubbs, Aquino) or major injuries set them back (Winker).

    having said that i do like this group. they play hard and are aggressive on the bases. at the very least we know that style will continue for the near future!

  18. Ryan Singer

    @LDS you’d be lucky if the Reds indulge “Votto’s vanity tour” as you called it – we all would. Amazed but the utter lack of appreciation a generational player like Joey gets from his own fanbase.