It has taken a little longer than the Colorado Rockies would have liked, but second baseman Ryan McMahon is turning into the potential future All-Star that they had hoped for.
This past offseason, the Colorado Rockies made the controversial decision to let three-time All-Star/Gold Glove winner and fan favorite DJ LeMahieu depart to the New York Yankees after seven wonderful seasons in Denver.
Whether it was the correct decision to let him walk and sign Daniel Murphy to play first is a topic for discussion for another day. The reason the Rockies let LeMahieu go was because they liked what they had coming up behind him.
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Heading into the season with Ryan McMahon, Garrett Hampson, rookie Brendan Rodgers, and Pat Valaika, the Rockies felt they had plenty of options to take the reins at second. The first half of the season, it was somewhat of a revolving door. McMahon and Hampson were inconsistent, Rodgers showed he wasn’t ready before having season-ending shoulder surgery, and Valaika has been unable to hit big league pitching.
However, since hitting .256 with seven home runs, 36 RBI, and 37 runs scored with a .731 OPS in 71 games before the All-Star break, McMahon has grabbed hold of the starting job and has flourished in the second half. In 33 games since the break, he is hitting .295 with 10 homers, 27 RBI, and 19 runs scored with a 1.009 OPS. This includes hitting four homers with seven RBI in the last three games.
He has also provided solid defense at second, even though he has been used in multiple positions around the infield.
He will likely finish the season with more than 20 homers and drive in 80-plus runs. If he can continue to progress with more everyday at-bats, he could easily flirt with becoming a .300 hitter and possibly a 30-plus home run hitter in the coming seasons. That would give the Rockies a much-needed left-handed bat in the heart of the order to go along with Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado.
Like most fans, I wished the Rockies had kept LeMahieu and had McMahon become the everyday first baseman. However, McMahon has become a reliable bat on the left side of the infield and could one day make us all forget about the DJ LeMahieu decision.