It has taken a few years, but the Colorado Rockies might finally be watching Ryan McMahon develop into a quality major leaguer. The former second-round selection is posting the best numbers of his career. That is thanks largely to regular playing time. There is a lot of baseball left in 2021, but the 26-year-old hitter is rounding into form.
Ryan McMahon Is Finally Blossoming
There is no question that McMahon is having the best season of his young career. He is hitting .265/313/503 with nine home runs. He has already equaled his home run output from the shortened 2020 season in 30 fewer plate appearances. This is not due to batted-ball luck either; his current BABIP of .284 is lower than any full season to this point except for a brief debut in 2017. McMahon’s current production ultimately translates to a 111 OPS+. That trails only C.J. Cron and Trevor Story on the Rockies.
McMahon is doing it on defense this year as well. He has played both second and third base this year with good results. His seven defensive runs saved at second are the best in baseball over 186 1/3 innings, while he is fifth at third with four. It is quite simply a complete season all-around for the young man.
Is This Sustainable
There is certainly no reason to expect a major regression at this point. McMahon isn’t walking as much as he has in previous years, but he also isn’t striking out as often. His 46.6 percent hard-hit rate is also the highest of his career while spraying hits far more often. Finally, it just seems as though McMahon’s pitch recognition has reached a new level based on a career-best 74.2 percent contact rate on all pitches with only 13 percent swinging strikes.
What To Expect Moving Forward
Colorado has very little infield depth, so expect McMahon to keep playing almost every day. The team should probably move him to third and bump Josh Fuentes to the bench eventually, but that move hinges on when Brendan Rodgers recovers from an injury that he suffered during spring training.
This surge comes at a time when McMahon is just starting to proceed through the arbitration portion of his career. Team revenues may take years to recover to pre-pandemic levels which could affect his true earning power, but it’s far easier for him to lobby for a significant raise if continues to do what he’s doing right now. The team is nearing a rebuild soon, but McMahon has positioned himself as a potential cornerstone player for the next several years based on the first month of 2021.
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