What to expect from Rockies' Ryan McMahon in a make-or-break 2024 season

"RyMac" had struggles with consistency in 2023, but he has shown throughout his career that he has the ability to become a star in this league.

Chicago Cubs v Colorado Rockies
Chicago Cubs v Colorado Rockies / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages

My personal favorite Colorado Rockies player, Ryan McMahon made his debut in 2017, and has become a staple in the Rockies lineup with his impressive defensive play, and his ability to make noise in the middle of the lineup. A once highly touted prospect who was drafted with the third pick of the second round in 2013, McMahon has become the successor to the third base job in Colorado that was held down for years by Nolan Arenado until he was... Well, let's just say, the Rockies decided it would be cool to pay 50 million dollars to ship one of the best players in their franchise's history to St. Louis for a few prospects that have come nowhere near matching a fraction of the production that Arenado brought, but that's a different article.

McMahon is 6'2, 219 pounds, bats left and throws right, throughout his career he has moved around the infield, playing first base, third, and even second base. With high expectations to live up to after Arenado's departure, his defense has certainly been up to the task, "RyMac" is a human highlight reel, he boasts a career .975 fielding percentage, and according to Baseball Reference, has an average of thirteen BIS defensive runs saved above average (per 1200 innings played). Defensive prowess aside, McMahon is also a mainstay in the middle of the Rockies lineup, he has power, but excels as a tremendous gap-to-gap hitter, however, he struggled with consistency in 2023.

Up to this point in his career, McMahon has combined to put up 12.3 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), with 104 career home runs and a .243 career batting average. In 2023, he batted .240 with 23 home runs, and at a few points in the season, showed streaks of elite level hitting in between his inconsistencies and frankly, at times, just pure bad luck. His strikeout numbers were less than desirable, but he is someone who finds the barrel and can hit rockets to all parts of the field, if he can find a way to put the ball in play more consistently, he could be in line for a big 2024 season.

What to expect in 2024:

I fully expect McMahon to be Colorado's opening day three or four hitter, and being the team's every day third baseman with Tovar and Rodgers patrolling the middle of the field. However, he may see some extended time at first base depending on how the first base situation with Hunter Goodman and Michael Toglia plays out; it is quite possible McMahon could see more time at first base if the Rockies prefer to use Elehuris Montero in their lineup rather than Goodman or Toglia. The advantage there is that Montero and McMahon are both able to play third and first base, giving the Rockies some options to keep legs fresh, but we know that McMahon will be up to the task wherever he is asked to play with his Gold Glove caliber defense. I predict RyMac offensively will be in the area of a .260 batting average, an OPS in the high 700's or low 800's, and smacking 30 home runs, hopefully striking a WAR of at least four.

My predictions could be a little on the optimistic side, but realistically, it is hard to gauge a player's stats when they are coming off an inconsistent year offensively, but we all know that the ability and the talent to achieve these numbers or better is there. If he can stay healthy and consistent, it is certainly reasonable to expect a strong season offensively, especially if the middle of the lineup can pop off around McMahon and take some pressure off (looking at you, Kris Bryant, you beautiful, complicated man). Overall, I expect a better season in 2024 for RyMac, he is a tremendous defender and has an insane ability to hit hard line drives, he possesses all the tools to bring some real thunder to a Rockies lineup that will need to fire on all cylinders in 2024.

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