People’s ears always perk up when they hear about a Rockies prospect possibly making an impact during the season. Remember the hype for Trevor Story a couple years ago? The hitter’s haven known as Coors Field has produced a lot of fantasy stars over the years. Is Ryan McMahon the next name in that line?
McMahon gained some traction as a prospect early in his career, making it up to #43 according to Baseball America prior to 2016. However, his 2016 was sub-par with him only batting .242 with a .686 OPS which made him fall off of many people’s radars. It was a puzzling drop off for a promising kid who had hit everywhere across the line. Then came the 2017 season that put him back on the map. McMahon hit .355 with 20 home runs in 118 games between Double and Triple-A. This catapulted him to #63 on the Baseball America’s prospect list prior to this upcoming season after dropping off it the year before.
McMahon according to multiple sources including the Denver Post here, has the inside track to the first base job in Denver. He has the ability to maintain a high average, as shown by his high BABIP numbers in the minor leagues. He has hit for over a .400 BABIP twice in his career, in 2015 and in 2017. His lowest BABIP was .338 in his down year in 2016. This all adds up to a .298 Career batting average in the minors.
He has also shown great strides in plate discipline over the years, going from a 30.1% strikeout rate in 2016 to a 16.9% strikeout rate in Triple-A in 70 games during 2017. He also hit an insane .370 during his stint in Triple A. With Carlos Gonzalez out of the picture, Desmond should return to the outfield which leaves first base wide open for McMahon’s taking. So far, McMahon is 7 for 14 with 3 RBI, one walk, and no strikeouts in Spring play further cementing his case for winning the opening day first base job. His ADP on Fantrax is currently 303, which is a steal if he can hit anywhere close to what he did in the Minor Leagues last year. He will also be hitting in one of the most potent offensives in the Major Leagues as Colorado was 3rd overall in the Majors with runs scored. With guys like Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, and D.J Lemahieu in the lineup McMahon should have plenty of RBI and run-scoring chances. While not known for his base-running skills, McMahon can run a little as he stole 11 bases last year in the minor leagues. If Story’s troubles continue, McMahon could see the 5th or 6th slot in the order for the Rockies in 2018.
There are some concerns with McMahon going into 2018. He must improve his GB/FB rate which was at 1.73 last year despite the great season. His walk rate also dropped despite the improvement in strikeouts. There is always the possibility of bringing in a first baseman too if the Rockies feel McMahon isn’t ready to take hold right out of the gate. With the recent Logan Morrison signing, that would mean either Reynolds or even Carlos Gonzalez could rejoin the team.
Regardless, McMahon should be a guy to target in drafts. While he will likely only play first base this year with Arenado at third, he will be eligible at both spots in 2018 helping his versatility. McMahon is a guy I have heavily invested in as a fantasy owner and you should give him a lot of consideration on draft day.
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