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infielder matt mclain had a Memorable pro debut with the dragons after being picked in the first round by the reds
Matt McLain, the Cincinnati Reds 2021 first round draft pick, had a dream game in his first day with the Dragons on August 11. McLain had hits in his first four at-bats including a home run in his second time to the plate, a blast that was replayed during the Reds game telecast that same night. For the day, McLain went 4 for 5 with five runs batted in. Did he take a moment after the last out to think about his successful debut? “It was cool, but if you do that, that’s when baseball gets you. It’s obviously such an up and down sport…you gotta stay as level-headed as possible. And that’s what I try to do, day in day out. Try to get better, no matter what.”
Because he is a first round draft pick, McLain is certain to be watched closely by Reds fans and media. Coming out of UCLA, what are his first impressions of the professional baseball life? “It’s been everything I’ve wanted it to be so far. (Dragons manager) Jose Moreno talked to me about expectations. He said ‘you don’t need to live up to anyone’s expectations. It’s about getting better every day.’ Just getting a chance to play hard for your team and play hard for yourself, that’s what it is really about in this game. If you do that, you continue to get better.”
McLain playing shortstop in his pro debut
McLain has become the latest first round draft pick to play for the Dragons. Recent first rounders to play for the Dragons, with their draft year, have included Nick Lodolo (2019), Jonathan India (2018), Hunter Greene (2017), Nick Senzel (2016), Tyler Stephenson (2015), Nick Howard and Alex Blandino (2014), Phillip Ervin (2013), Nick Travieso (2012), and Robert Stephenson (2011). Every Reds “true” first round pick (selected within the first 30 picks of the draft) over the last 11 drafts has played for the Dragons except 2020 first rounder Austin Hendrick, who is currently at Low-A Daytona. In 2021 at UCLA, McLain batted .333 with nine home runs and a slugging percentage of .579 to earn PAC 12 All-Conference honors as well as All-Tournament Team honors in the Lubbock Regional.
McLain smiles during his pro debut
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