Colorado Rockies: How Raimel Tapia can learn from Ryan McMahon’s offseason adjustments

Apr 21, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies left fielder Raimel Tapia (15) celebrates as he and third baseman Ryan McMahon (24) score on a play in the first inning against the Houston Astros at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 21, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies left fielder Raimel Tapia (15) celebrates as he and third baseman Ryan McMahon (24) score on a play in the first inning against the Houston Astros at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /
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Ryan McMahon of the Colorado Rockies
SEATTLE, WA – AUGUST 09: Ryan McMahon #24 of the Colorado Rockies walks off the field after an at-bat in a game against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on August, 9, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners won 5-3. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /

In 2020, here’s what Ryan McMahon’s hitting profile looked like (52 Games):

Slash Line: .215/.295/.419
HR: 9
wRC+: 76
wOBA: .308
xwOBA: .293
BABIP: .286
BB%: 9.3%
K%: 34.2%
fWAR: 0.1

And here’s what he’s done so far in 2021 (56 games):

Slash Line: .259/.313/.507
HR: 13
wRC+: 106
wOBA: .346
xwOBA: .361
BABIP: .280
BB%: 7.6%
K%: 22.8%
fWAR: 1.3

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Now, a huge chunk of what he’s done better this season is relative to that K%. He’s cut down a ton on that number and that’s been pretty huge to his success. It doesn’t always mean everyone’s success, a la Tapia’s numbers while cutting down on Ks, but it’s helping McMahon.

It’s not the only contributor to him performing better, though. See that positive increase in nearly all his numbers besides BABIP? Outside of cutting down on Ks, there’s one main reason he’s becoming more successful.

In both 2020 and 2019, he had a GB% over 50 percent. In 2021, he’s cut that down to 32.3 percent. He is, for the first time in his career, hitting more fly balls than he is ground balls.

Why?

Because he CRUSHES the ball in the air. His HR/FB% has dropped as a result of hitting more balls in the air, which will be natural, but he’s getting much, much better results.

In just 4 more games this season compared to last season, he has seven more singles (28 vs 21), six more doubles (12 vs 6) and 4 more HRs (13 vs 9). His Hard Hit% has increased and his Launch Angle has doubled.

What this all shows is pretty simple: Ryan McMahon recognized that when he hits the ball in the air he gets much, much better results, so he made a concerted effort to adjust his swing and start hitting the ball in the air more often. And look at the results!

He’s still not a world-beater by any means, but it’s a significant improvement he’s made in just one season. What’s incredible about it too is that his xwOBA (Expected Weighted On Base Average) is HIGHER than his wOBA, meaning there’s a very good likelihood that he’s been a bit unlucky this season also.

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