When the all-stars shine at Coors Field on July 13, could the Rockies have a player in the starting lineup for the National League?
No way, many of you will say. After all, the Rockies have the third-worst record in the NL, are 4-22 on the road, and are on pace to finish with 98 losses. Toss in the fact that the Rockies play in the forgotten mountain time zone, and that fans tend to discount Coors Field accomplishments, and the chances appear to be slim.
But hold on. Let me present Ryan Patrick McMahon for your consideration. He’s not only provided power with his bat but he’s also turned magic tricks with his glove.
“RyMac” has been something of a hybrid this season, starting 34 games at second base and 19 at third. Defensively, he’s shined at both positions. He won Sports Info Solution’s award for defensive player of the month for May, edging San Diego’s Jake Cronenworth by one point. McMahon saved six runs at second base and three runs at third base.
Wisely, the Rockies put McMahon on the official All-Star Game ballot as a second baseman. Third base is an obvious two-man race between the Cardinals’ Nolan Arenado and the Cubs’ Kris Bryant.
But second base is wide open and McMahon has a legitimate shot. Or at least he should.
McMahon ranks sixth in the entire National League in total WAR (2.3) and ninth in total bases (104).
Among NL second basemen, McMahon has the most home runs (13) and the second-most RBIs (32). His .816 OPS, however, trails both the Pirates’ Adam Frazier (.881) and the Braves’ Ozzie Albies (.831), the players who are likely to be McMahon’s primary competitors.
Unfortunately, relatively few fans or writers outside of Colorado know much about McMahon.
For example, Matt Snyder of CBSsports.com recently made his early picks for the All-Star Game. Snyder mentions the Cubs’ Nico Hoerner, the Marlins’ Jazz Chisholm, the Brewers’ Kolten Wong, the Padres’ Jake Cronenworth, Albies, and even the Cardinals’ Tommy Edman.
Ultimately, Synder settles on Frazier, writing: “Adam Frazier can’t do much about his (Pirates) teammates being bad, generally speaking. He’s hitting .335/.381/.481 while leading the majors in hits (71) and doubles (19).”
Frazier is definitely worthy of consideration, and he certainly hurt the Rockies when the Pirates took two of three games at Pittsburgh last week.
But McMahon has to be in the conversation. Beyond the raw numbers, McMahon has played with passion and flair and has been the brightest light during a dark season. He hit a 478-foot home run and his defense has been as good as any player in the National League.
In late April, I asked McMahon if he had thought about playing in the All-Star Game, in front of the home crowd at Coors Field. He responded with an answer you’d expect from a star.
“I have definitely thought about that,” he said. “I think every player has, or at least, every player should. If you’re not shooting for your top level, I think you’re wasting your time in this game.”
As Rockies manager Bud Black put it: “He’s showing true confidence in the belief that he can be an impact player in the league. That takes time, but Ryan is to the point now where he’s been around long enough to realize that he can play with anybody in this league.”
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