ATLANTA — Step into the visiting clubhouse at Truist Park and you’ll see rookie Michael Toglia’s locker right next to Ryan McMahon’s in the Colorado Rockies configuration. You might even see the two talking shop in the hours leading up to first pitch.
With Toglia’s first-ever MLB call-up, McMahon was well aware that the 24-year-old rookie might have some questions as he prepared for his debut with the Colorado Rockies. Now in his sixth season with the club, McMahon has heard his share of newcomer questions, including this week in Atlanta with Toglia.
“If they ask me questions, I try to give them real answers,” McMahon said of rookies such as Toglia, Wynton Bernard, and Elehuris Montero who have made their MLB debuts this season. “I don’t try to sugarcoat it. I try to help them prepare. This is not an easy thing, man. You get thrown up here and nobody cares that you’re a rookie or that you’re not playing good. It’s the show and it’s time to get going.”
Michael Toglia said the advice from Ryan McMahon and others during the trio of games for the Colorado Rockies in Atlanta has been welcomed.
“I came up here with (Sean) Bouchard, and he was filling me in on all of the unwritten rules and the way that things work around here,” Toglia said. “He’s been a huge help and some of the older guys like McMahon and (Garrett) Hampson are all helping me along the way.”
Montero added that McMahon has not only helped with advice, but also with his actions as the two have shared time at third base since Montero’s stay on the Rockies roster began in earnest in August.
“I love watching those guys (McMahon and first baseman C.J. Cron, who shares the other position where Montero has seen time this season), but especially McMahon the way he gets to the ball on defense, the way he moves, and the effortless level that he has sometimes,” Montero said through his interpreter, Rockies bullpen catcher Aaron Muñoz. “I’ve really enjoyed watching him play and I’ve learned a lot from him on the field and in the clubhouse.”
Toglia said that he knew his teammates already from previous spring trainings, but there’s a different vibe in the clubhouse once the regular season rolls around.
“In spring, you don’t really know what’s going to happen, but I’m here and they know that I’m here to play and make an impact,” Toglia explained. “So I think there’s a mutual level of respect going on.”
McMahon made his MLB debut on August 12, 2017, with one at-bat against the Miami Marlins. He would end up with 23 additional plate appearances in 16 other games the rest of the campaign as the Rockies earned a Wild Card berth. Those moments during his first season form the foundation for some of the advice he gives out now at times.
“I wish when I first got up there that I wasn’t so worried about getting in the games and just focused on the team and just tried to assimilate and fit in,” McMahon said. “You get up there as a rookie and you’re like, ‘My career is starting. Cool.’ But when I got called up, we were in the middle of a playoff hunt and I wished I had realized that a little bit more. If somebody had told me, ‘Hey, this isn’t about you. This is about right now. We’re trying to win this thing. Just come out here and give us your best effort,’ that might have helped.”
It would take McMahon until the 2019 season before he would play in more than 100 games for the Rockies, so he has endured the moments of wondering when he would make his impact and trying to be patient for that day to come. Now he’s in the position of doling out real advice for those Colorado Rockies prospects coming behind him as they start their careers and try to find their place on the roster with plenty of questions in their heads.