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The Reds select Matt McLain 17th overall in the 2021 MLB Draft

The Reds take the UCLA shortstop with their first pick.

UCLA v Oregon State Photo by Andy Bao/Getty Images

With the 17th overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, the Reds select Matt McLain, an infielder out of University of California, Los Angeles.

The former 2018 first round draft pick is back and ready to show the major league’s what he’s made of. After telling the Diamondbacks, “thanks but no thanks” after being taken 25th overall, the utility man was able to expand on his wide variety of skills. That refining on his tools has had a huge impact on his stats today.

McLain has one of the best contact driven bats in this year’s draft. Graded a 60 on his hitting out of the scouting scale of 20-80, his swing covers the entire plate and his closed stance and smart timing give him consistent solid contact. He slashed a hearty .333/.434/.579 with nine homers, 36 RBIs, 34 walks. And with only 34 strikeouts this season, that gives the 21-year old a 13.7% strikeout percentage. While he doesn’t bolster crazy stolen base numbers, McLain has a lot of speed behind him, and could be a problem in the major league base paths.

One key factor that’s pointed out a lot about McLain is his ability to maintain being a shortstop in the next level. His 5’11 stature is on the smaller side for a shortstop, and he has experience pivoting to other infield positions as well as centerfield. His strong arm and quick reflexes could help him flex into a potential second base position, if needed.