Ryan McMahon has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball. Even with the comfort of playing his home games at Coors Field he does not seem to get full love in the fantasy baseball community. Is he underrated and by the end of next month will have many fantasy managers kicking themselves for not picking him up on a late season waiver wire? Is he just a mediocre third baseman that will never realize his power potential? These questions come at a perfect time since it’s “Third Base Day” in the Fantasy Baseball Player Spotlight Series. Every Thursday, I break down a different MLB third baseman for your fantasy baseball lineups. Some weeks it is a prospect and others it may be a “Sell High”, “Buy Low” or even totally avoid at all costs-type player. Today, I am going to dig into Ryan McMahon of the Colorado Rockies and let you know if he should be a late-season pick up for that upcoming playoff push in your fantasy baseball league.




Fantasy Baseball Player Spotlight: Ryan McMahon

As a prep football star in California who played quarterback at powerhouse Mater Dei High School — which counts Heisman Trophy winners John Huarte and Matt Leinart as alums — Ryan McMahon could spin a spiral as well as anyone in the country. The problem was that he was even better at baseball and originally committed to play third base at USC. McMahon was named to the 2013 Pacific HS baseball Dream Team along with future MLB players Alex Jackson (ATL) and Dominic Smith (NYM). He was the 25th-ranked overall player and the #2 third baseman in the country during his senior year. McMahon was drafted by the Rockies in the second round (42nd overall) of the 2013 draft and decided to forego his USC commitment for professional ball. His best tool was his left-handed power, but he also showed enough skill with the bat to eventually hit for a strong average and on-base percentages. 

The Rockies drafted McMahon as a third base power bat but as he rose in the minor leagues the organization did not want him to have a singular identity as just a corner player. So, in the mold of Ian Desmond, a shortstop turned outfielder turned first baseman, who the Rockies signed during that time and the Cubs Ben Zobrist, McMahon was no longer “third baseman Ryan McMahon.” He became utility man Ryan McMahon and rolled through his first three years in the minors after a .321 average and near 1.000 OPS in his first year as a professional. He showed raw power from the get-go but never sold out for it by displaying great bat speed and an ability to hit to all fields. 

Ryan McMahon 2013-2016 Minor League Statistics (Per Baseball-Reference):
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2017 was the season that talk about McMahon being a major leaguer became serious.  After a rough 2016 season at Double-A, the Rockies sent McMahon back to the same level to open 2017 and he responded in a big wayAs a reward he was invited to play for team USA in the Futures Game after raking pitching in Double-A Hartford to the tune of a .326/.390/.536 slash which earned a promotion to Triple-A Albuquerque.  He hit so well at Triple-A that he was called to The Show after the Future Game and made his MLB debut on August 11th


McMahon's 2017 Double A/Triple-A/MLB Statistics (Per Baseball-Reference):

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After playing in both Triple-A and MLB in 2018 McMahon pretty much settled in as an everyday player with a home run boost from playing his home games at Coors Field. Fast forward to the spring of 2022 as McMahon and the Rockies agreed to a six-year contract extension, a deal will take the third baseman, a Gold Glove finalist last year, four years into his scheduled free agency. McMahon, 27, took over at third base for the Rockies after they traded Nolan Arenado to the Cardinals last season and in his first full season at the corner he shortened his swing, which gave him more control. He started that 2021 season strong but slowed as the year wore on. Through June 15th of last year McMahon was on pace for 39 homers and 104 RBI but he was only hitting .261/.308/.527. Over the next 84 games, McMahon hit for a lower average (.247) and a lower slugging percentage (.383) but a much higher on-base percentage (.348). He finished with a slash of  .254/.331/.449 and hit 23 home runs (16 in the first half) and most notable, his strikeout rate dropped from a 34.2% in 2020 to 24.7%.  With 47 home runs in his past two full seasons, in 2021 and 2019, McMahon became one of the Rockies' top sluggers, although he struggled at times at the plate. His .254 average and .779 OPS last season put him right near league average as a hitter, by park-adjusted numbers.




McMahon's 2017-2021 MLB Statistics (Per Baseball Reference) and check out how similar his 2019 and 2021 seasons were (2020 was COVID-shortened):

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2021 MLB Percentile Rankings (Per Baseball Savant):

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McMahon has certainly had his ups and downs this season, but he has really started raking and will be sorry to see this month end. In the month of August McMahon has been one of the best players in the National League. He has hit .314/.355/.547 with a 150 wRC+ and .902 OPS in the month. 10 of his 27 hits in the month have been extra-base hits (five doubles and five home runs) and 15 RBI. This success at the plate has forced the Rockies to even put McMahon in the leadoff spot as the did last weekend in the series against the Mets. 

More importantly, with runners in scoring position, he is hitting .267/.380/.457 with three home runs, 45 RBI, seven doubles, and two triples. His STATCAST numbers are excellent with a career-high 91.3 exit velocity, 113.7 Max EV, .252 xBA, .333 xwOBA.

2022 MLB Percentile Rankings (Per Baseball Savant):

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Ryan McMahon is currently available in 30%-40% of fantasy baseball leagues. Over the last 30 days, he is the fifth ranked third baseman in the major leagues per Yahoo Fantasy above such stars like José Ramírez, Bobby Witt Jr and Austin Riley. He has a .314 average with five home runs and 15 RBI in that span and with only a few weeks left before fantasy playoffs, McMahon and his powerful stick in Coors can be a nice add to your offense.



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