Breakout or Bust: Will The Rockies’ Ryan McMahon Take Another Step Forward Or Is He Destined To Disappoint?

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There was a time when the Rockies’ Ryan McMahon was considered a potential breakout candidate, though the team never seemed to be willing to give him an opportunity. That chance finally came in 2019, and he seemingly took advantage of it and entrenched himself onto fantasy rosters:

480 At Bats
.250 Batting Average (120 Hits)
24 Home Runs
83 RBI
70 Runs
5 Stolen Bases
.329 On Base Percentage
.450 Slugging Percentage
.323 Batting Average on Balls in Play

On the surface those are solid numbers, especially in terms of his HR/RBI, but are even those repeatable? There’s a lot of questionable numbers, though the most glaring could be his home/road split. Granted it’s not uncommon for Colorado hitters to perform better at Coors Field, but this is a bit extreme:

SplitABAVGHRRBIHR/FBStrikeout RateBABIP
Home259.270185339.1%30.3%.335
Road221.22663014.0%29.0%.310

While he’s always had power potential, that type of mark even in the thin air of Colorado, is extreme. Any type of regression there is going to have a significant impact on his overall production, especially as he struggled to make contact against all types of pitches (Whiff%):

  • Hard – 14.17%
  • Breaking – 22.02%
  • Offspeed – 14.37%

Those marks yielded a 14.7% SwStr% and 29.7% strikeout rate overall. Considering his 11.9% SwStr% over 761 PA in the minors between 2017 & 2018 they are realistic marks, and that’s going to limit his potential upside in his AVG. A regression in his power at home would only add to the problems, not to mention the potential to fall into a platoon.

There’s additional playing time concerns, considering the depth the Rockies have in the outfield. While Charlie Blackmon and David Dahl (as long as he’s healthy, which isn’t a given) are locked in, there are numerous options for the third spot. Garrett Hampson likely did enough in September to earn the opportunity, but couldn’t the team shift him back to 2B to free up playing time for Sam Hilliard/Ian Desmond in CF?

McMahon could draw some attention in fantasy drafts, and it makes sense given the surface production. However the strikeout concerns, as well as his home/road split, already draw his production into question. Throw in the risks to his playing time and it’s easy to deem the reward not quite high enough to warrant your attention.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

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