ANAHEIM, Calif.- The strong youth movement in Cincinnati has ties to Santa Barbara.
Reds rookies Matt McLain, Spencer Steer and Christian Encarnacion-Strand all played summer ball for the Santa Barbara Foresters.
McLain and Encarnacion-Strand were Foresters teammates in 2020 during a Covid summer in which Santa Barbara steamrolled the competition as they went 30-4 and won the NBC World Series in Wichita, Kansas.
Steer was at the University of Oregon when he played for Santa Barbara in the summer of 2017.
Now these Major League Baseball rookies are all starting for the Cincinnati Reds who are making a strong push to become the first team ever to win a division after losing at least 100 games the season before.
The Reds are 3.5 games out of first place in the National League Central and they are currently tied with Chicago and a half-a-game ahead of San Francisco and Arizona for the final wild card berth.
Steer was the National League Rookie of the Month for May and McLain was the National League Player of the Week for May 22-28 which was just his second week in the Majors.
Encarnacion-Strand has hit four home runs since making his MLB debut last month.