The Los Angeles Dodgers are hoping for better outcomes for their Low-A affiliate the Great Lakes Loons. With this in mind, they’ve decided to mix things up with the roster by adding a few members of their 2018 draft class.
Outfielder Josh McLain was the first member of the class to join the Loons this month. McLain, who played collegiately at North Carolina State, seemed to be an excellent fit to jump up due to the challenges of playing baseball in the ACC.
McLain explains how those challenges every weekend prepared him well for his new opportunity in the Dodgers system.
“The ACC is a good conference to play baseball in,” stated McLain. “It’s comparable to playing minor league baseball. I really believe the pitching and defense really prepared me well to come here.”
That preparation has shown in the early going of McLain’s Loons tenure. The former N.C. State star has recorded seven hits, including four doubles and a triple, in his first week with Great Lakes.
Even though McLain is at the beginning of his professional journey, the outfielder has already noticed a significant change in the pitching.
“The pitching is a lot better here consistently,” said McLain. “In college you have a good Friday guy, and it dwindles down on Saturday and Sunday. Here it’s a good guy every day similar to facing a Friday guy in college, so you better be ready to roll every day.”
Another modification McLain has made since turning pro is adjusting his plate approach to compensate for the differences in fastball location between college and professional pitchers.
“There’s a lot of guys who sink the ball here,” explained McLain. “In college there’s a lot of flat fastballs, so here you have to keep your hands inside the baseball, and look to go the other way. That’s the approach I go with. I try to hit it to second base and react if they come in with the offspeed.”
Splitting time defensively between center and left field in professional baseball, McLain currently has a flawless fielding percentage at both positions since turning pro.
While McLain will play anywhere he’s needed, he admits he feels more confident in center.
“It’s easier to read swings in center,” stated McLain. “It’s tougher getting a clear view of the swing in the corners, so I’ve had to adjust to that in left, but it’s getting better.”
Fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers will want to continue to follow McLain’s development in Great Lakes this season.