Colorado Rockies third baseman Ryan McMahon was the best defensive player in baseball last year. The eye test for those that watched McMahon (and watched his predecessor, Nolan Arenado) said so and the defensive metrics (22 Defensive Runs Saved) said so as well.
However, in 2022, things have gone downhill for McMahon defensively as he has already committed eight errors, after committing just seven in all of 2021.
One of those errors came on Monday in a crucial spot. With the game between the Rockies and San Francisco Giants tied at four in the seventh inning and with the bases loaded and nobody out, McMahon had a chopper right in front of him.
He attempted to go home where, if a good play was made, the runner would have been out at home and the batter would have been out at first on a 5-2-3 double play. Things never got that far though as McMahon bobbled the ball and everybody was safe, causing the Giants to take the 5-4 lead.
On the next play, there was a sacrifice fly to make the game 6-4. The Rockies came back to tie it but eventually lost the game 7-6.
Ryan McMahon drove in two of the Rockies’ six runs at the plate but after the game, he was very candid with the media and took responsibility for the team’s loss, their eighth in their last 10 games.
Colorado Rockies third baseman Ryan McMahon on his defensive play in 2022
“It’s getting to me a little bit,” said Colorado Rockies third baseman Ryan McMahon to the media, including Rox Pile, after Monday’s loss to the San Francisco Giants. “I screwed us tonight. They scored two runs that they shouldn’t have had and we should have won this game. It’s as plain and simple as that. It’s gotta stop.”
McMahon was a finalist for the NL Gold Glove Award at third base last year (his former teammate Nolan Arenado won it) and McMahon was asked whether or not he is putting more pressure on himself to be even better.
“No,” McMahon said.
Rockies manager Bud Black was also asked about McMahon’s defense in the game and on the season overall and here’s what he had to say.
“Some (of the errors have been on) ‘do or die’ plays, like the chopper (that McMahon made the error on),” Black said. “I can’t speak for Mac but maybe he tried to be too quick considering the situation … But there’s been a couple of those where maybe he hurried when, in hindsight, he probably didn’t need to or shouldn’t have. Make the play, make the throw, and if the guy’s safe, he’s safe. The throwing errors? Those are uncharacteristic (for him).”
Overall, the Rockies’ defense has struggled, as we examined this past weekend and it’s not just McMahon who has struggled defensively.
However, if he and others don’t fix things soon on defense, especially for a pitching staff that generates ground balls nearly 50 percent of the time and strikes out the least amount of batters, it will cost the Rockies big time in the playoff hunt late in the season, if they are even in the hunt.