The 2020 MLB season was a complete disaster for the Colorado Rockies. There were very few, if any, bright spots in the long list of disappointments that came with the pandemic-shortened 60-game season. Buried in that list was the non-emergence of infielder Ryan McMahon.
Entering the 2020 season, many believed McMahon was on the verge of becoming a breakout star in the Rockies’ lineup … and who could blame them? In 2019, McMahon hit .250/.329/.450 with 24 homers, 83 RBI, and 70 runs scored in 141 games.
Sadly, those numbers took a dramatic dip in the shortened campaign. In 52 games, he hit .215/.295/.419 with nine home runs, 26 RBI, and 23 runs scored while also striking out in 38 percent of his at-bats (66 times in 172 at-bats).
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One of the reasons why he may have not have had that expected breakout year is that, from day to day, McMahon hasn’t known what position he would be playing. In the last three seasons, he has appeared in 10 or more games at first, second, and third base. In 2020 alone, he played in 12 games at first, 33 at second, 14 at third, and two at shortstop.
Consistent starts at one position could do him wonders at the plate … but don’t expect that to happen in 2021. He will likely continue to platoon at first base with Josh Fuentes, rotate with Garrett Hampson and maybe Brendan Rodgers at second, and spell Nolan Arenado at third on his rare days off.
In hindsight, the Rockies could have easily solved this problem in 2019 by planting him at first base. Not only would this have allowed McMahon to focus solely on one position, it would have avoided the abysmal Daniel Murphy experiment.
There will still be a ton of pressure in 2021 on McMahon, who avoided arbitration on Friday by signing a $2.375 million deal, to finally become a dangerous threat in the everyday lineup. He will just have to do it without knowing where he will be playing on a consistent basis.