Ryan McMahon provided an impactful answer to the doubters who appeared after last year’s statistical struggles with Double-A Hartford. Rockies officials never wavered in their belief he was a prime prospect, and that was reinforced on Friday when he was added to the big-league roster.
Sent back to Double-A Hartford to open the 2017 season after his struggles a year ago, McMahon hit .326 with 32 RBI in 181 at-bats for the YardGoats, earning him a promotion to Triple-A Albuquerque, where he hit .375 with 13 home runs in 248 at-bats.
Between the two stops this year he hit .354 with a .401 on-base percentage, 19 home runs and 82 RBI.
And just as importantly, McMahon gives the Rockies an impact bat in their bid to claim a post-season berth, who was signed as a third baseman, began making the move to first base last year and added second base to his resume this season. There are scouts who have seen him and think he fits best at second base, although he is capable at the corner positions.
The versatility is crucial for the Rockies in light of the fact McMahon is a left-handed hitter, and their primary starting infield is all right-handed –Mark Reynolds at first, DJ LeMahieu at second, Nolan Arenado at third and shortstop Trevor Story.
The strong campaign this year come son the heels of a 2016 in which the Rockies second-round draft choice in 2013 hit .242 at Hartford with 12 home runs and 75 RBI, but also a career-high 161 strikeouts.
There was no panic within the organization a year ago. They looked at the situation as a challenge for McMahon in light of the fact he was playing at the age of 21, being asked to learn a new position, and the Hartford franchise played its entire season on the row because of a delay in constructing Dunkin’ Donuts Ballpark.
Even with the stats of a year ago, McMahon was still ranked the eighth best prospect in the Rockies system by Baseball America last winter. MLB.com now has him as the No. 3 prospect.
McMahon was the Rockies second-round draft choice in 2013 and received a $1.327,600 bonus to pass up college football offers to be a quarterback. He is a graduate of Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Ca., which has produced Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks John Huarte and Matt Linhart in addition to Colt Brennan and Matt Barkley.
To make room for McMahon the Rockies optioned outfielder Raimel Tapia back to Triple-A Albuquerque. Tapia has hit .287 in 48 games spread over four separate callups by the Rockies, but has struggled in a bench role.
Tapia has hit .301 in 27 starts, but .211 in 21 games when he came off the bench.
Ryan McMahon’s Career Year-By-Year