This week’s Bells in the Bigs checks in with three California natives who played for the Bells and are now advancing through Major League systems of the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds. 

Right-handed pitcher Joey Matulovich appeared in 11 games and started nine for the Bells in 2016 including one playoff start. He posted a 4.17 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 49.2 innings. 

Matulovich was drafted after his junior year at the University of California Berkeley in the 20th round of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers.

He was signed to a minor league contract and made his minor league debut in 2018 with the Helena Brewers of the Pioneer League where he tossed 36 innings and ended the season with a 2.75 ERA. 

Matulovich started the 2019 season with the Brewers Gold (Arizona Complex League) and made eight appearances and started six games before being bumped up to the High-A affiliate Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. He made nine appearances and logged 13 innings with the Timber Rattlers by the time the season concluded. 

After the off year in 2020, he started the 2021 season with the Low-A affiliate Carolina Mudcats. He was assigned to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, throwing 34.1 innings and making a career-high seven starts in eight appearances. 

Left-hander Arman Sabouri was drafted in the 12th round of the 2019 MLB Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers after his junior year at Cal. 

In 2017, Sabouri made 18 appearances for the Bells and clocked a 4.03 ERA and two saves. 

He pitched 37 innings in his first minor league season with the Rocky Mountain Vibes of the Pioneer League. After the 2020 season pause, Sabouri began the 2021 year with the Timber Rattlers. He appeared in 22 games and threw 27.2 innings.

Infielder Matt McLain took 100 at-bats for the Bells in 2018 and batted .280 with 15 runs scored, 27 RBI and three home runs in 26 games. 

He was drafted for the second time in the 2021 MLB Draft after his junior year at the University of California Los Angeles. The Cincinnati Reds selected McLain in the first round of the draft with the 17th overall pick.

After his summer in Bellingham, McLain was UCLA’s Opening Day centerfielder as a true freshman in 2019. He went to the Cape Cod league and played with the Wareham Gatemen and was the ranked the No.7 prospect in the Cape Cod League by Baseball America.

As a sophomore in 2020, McLain started 13 games at shortstop for the Bruins and was batting .397 before the pandemic shortened the 2020 season. With four other teammates from UCLA, McLain continued playing in the summer of 2020 with the Santa Barbara Foresters. Over 30 games, he batted .436 and helped the Foresters to a 2020 National Baseball Congress World Series victory. 

McLain continued to find success as a junior and slashed .333/.434/.579 in over 183 at-bats which boosted his draft stock even more and led to being the 17th overall pick that summer. 

He spent his first season in the minors with the High-A affiliate Dayton Dragons and played in 29 games with 99 at-bats, ending with a slash line of .273/.387/.424. 

These three former Bells are striving toward the big leagues and ready for the upcoming season.