Ryan McMahon won the unenvious task of replacing DJ LeMahieu, and as expected, the young McMahon is not quite the on-base threat like the current AL MVP candidate. He is 10th in the squad in bWAR (1.0) and has a fairly pedestrian slash line of .268/.341/.441.
But last month, McMahon came to life at the plate. He slashed .319/.376/.560 in July (plus the first series of August) for a wRC+ of 125, third among NL second basemen and second on the Rockies. He hit five home runs and earned 19 RBIs to bring his season tally to 12 dingers and 54 RBIs.
His strikeout rate is 28.5 percent, but there’s encouraging numbers under the surface. In June, his strikeout rate was a rough 34 percent and his walk rate 7.2 percent. McMahon struggled with timing – he was often well in front of sliders and failed to make contact on high fastballs.
In July, his strikeout rate dipped to 27.8 percent, and he’s made remarkable improvements in quality of contact.
"“I think I’m heading in the right direction, but there are obviously things I still have to learn,” McMahon told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. “That’s one of the things I’m starting to discover, that you are never done working at this game.”"
And McMahon looks like he will fit in LeMahieu’s shoes as a defensive replacement. He has a dWAR of 0.4 and is second in baseball in range factor (which is putouts and assists per nine innings).
Yes, seven errors is too many, but allow the 24-year-old learning a new position to make the occasional blunder or boneheaded play. He could be a key cog in the Rockies infield for years to come.