Ryan McMahon is one of the longest -enured Rockies players (debuting in the same year as Kyle Freeland, but drafted a year ahead of the left-handed pitcher). He is a fan favorite and has had some up and down years. The Rockies extended McMahon before the 2022 season after a solid 2021 that saw him post a 2.4 fWAR and a 93 wRC+. He had a really solid 2022 season, putting up a 3.0 fWAR and a 95 wRC+. McMahon is a personal favorite, but that didn't play into me putting him in the top three of this year's player rankings. He has earned that with his on-field play.
This year is the return of the Mac. Ryan McMahon checks in at No. 3 in our 2024 Rockies Player Rankings.
Ryan McMahon was a top pick from 2013, going in the second round (42nd overall) and was regularly a top five Rockies prospect. McMahon had a slow start to his career, but really found his stride in 2021, slashing .254/.331.449 with a 93 wRC+ and a 2.4 fWAR. Following that season, the Rockies extended McMahon to a six-year, $70 million contract. He rewarded them for their vote of confidence, slashing .246/.327/.414 with a 95 wRC+ and a career-high 3.0 fWAR.
2023 saw McMahon take some steps back; he posted just a 1.2 fWAR, with his strikeout rate increasing all the way up to 31.6%. The Rockies, as a whole, struggled in 2023, but having McMahon (who was expected to be a key part of the middle of the order) scuffle put a lot of pressure on the youngsters like Nolan Jones and Ezequiel Tovar.
The 2023 season wasn't just a year in which McMahon regressed offensively, as a lot of his defensive metrics were significantly down as well. This just seems like an outlier year for a player that is a veteran, and is playing on one of the worst teams in baseball. This is not to make an excuse, though; the Rockies paid him some money, and now he needs to lead this young team through this rebuild.
McMahon's exit velocity was slightly down along with his launch angle, but his barrel percentage, xwOBA, and expected slugging percentages all reached career highs. These all point to it being an unlucky year for McMahon and one to forget. 2024 will be a better season for McMahon, one where we could see his leadership and the emergence of the young talent come together.