Max Bain sounds like a character in a comic book or video game, and his 6-foot-6, 250 pound frame does nothing to dispel that notion. Superpowers aside, he’s actually a 22-year-old righty out of Northwood University in Michigan. Undrafted out of college, Bain caught on with the Utica Unicorns of the short-season United Shore Professional Baseball League (USPBL) in 2019.
He put up a 4.88 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 24 innings, holding opposing hitters to a .200 average with just three extra base hits. His 23 walks are a little troubling, but you’ll take that from a guy who throws in the upper 90’s. A very raw pitcher with serious physical tools still in need of a lot of refinement, Bain gained notoriety on social media with the help of Rob Friedman’s (@PitchingNinja) FlatGround platform.
6’6” 250 lbs.
22 years old (09/25/97)
Live AB numbers:
5 Hitters – 4K’s 1 BB
FB: 94-96 T 97.8
S/O @TheTrain34 for the footage today!
— Max Bain (@mbain_38) January 3, 2020
A few people will no doubt look at the box score numbers and crack jokes about him being another project signing by the no-money Cubs, but that’s not the right way to see it. Bain isn’t being brought in to contend for a big league roster spot, he’s a guy in whom the Cubs see potential for their revamped pitching development team to really bring to life.
This is sort of like the Luke Hagerty signing last year, at least in terms of being something of a longshot feel-good story that could really pay off if things break the right way. Bain is a lot younger, though, so there’s plenty of time for him to get a better feel for his stuff to see if he can really harness it and become a dude.