Ryan McMahon was off to quite the start at Double-A Hartford, erasing the bad memories of a lost 2016 campaign. Still, the season is still young enough that promotions from one minor-league level to the next are rare.
McMahon just kept on hitting for the Yard Goats, until the Colorado Rockies could ignore it no longer, promoting the young slugger to the Albuquerque Isotopes on Thursday.
McMahon certainly earned his chance, batting .326/.390/.536 with six home runs and 32 RBI through 49 games. That compared quite yell to 2016, when he hit .242/.325/.399 with 12 homers and 75 RBI in 133 games for Hartford, with an eye-popping 161 strikeouts in 466 at-bats.
“You know, just kind of learning more about myself, different things in my swing, learning different things in the way I need to approach defense, basically just the game in general,” said McMahon, who only had 39 strikeouts in 181 at-bats with the Yard Goats this year. “I think I’ve done a pretty job of being more consistent compared to last year. I’ve been a different player every day. I think that’s the big change from last year to this year.”
McMahon started at first base for the Isotopes on Thursday night against the Sacramento River Cats (Giants), a game they won 6-5 in 13 innings. It continued another change from seasons past, when McMahon was strictly a third baseman. He spent a good chunk of 2016 at first, and this season has added second base to his repertoire. After some initial adjustment, McMahon said he is willing to adapt to whatever the Rockies need.
“It’s been interesting,” McMahon said. “I played second base growing up. Learning first base last year was obviously something new. But like you said, being in the NL with all the switches and stuff like that, it can’t hurt to play multiple positions. I’m open-minded to it all, just trying to learn as much as I can from the guys there and the coaches that are helping me.”
McMahon was a bit winded during batting practice on Monday as he adjusted to Albuquerque’s elevation. It did not stop him from blasting one ball to the top of the right field berm, up where the children’s playground is located during games.
The pitchers in the Pacific Coast League do not figure to serve up many pitches that are that easy to clobber. McMahon said he is fully aware of the more varied types of pitchers he will face at Triple-A.
“I don’t know if I have any specific expectations,” he said. “I’m just going to come in here, talk to the guys who have been here and see what they have on different pitchers. I just want to go up there with a good plan and try to beat the pitcher.”
McMahon said he already has a good sense of camaraderie with his teammates, many of whom he has played with before during his time in the Rockies’ system since he was a second-round draft pick in 2013.
“It’s cool, it’s like half and half — I’ve played with them (before) or it’s the first time I’ve met a couple of them,” McMahon said. “It’s nice coming up and seeing the guys I have played with. It’s always fun to be reunited, checking up on them. I’m just happy to be here. There are a couple guys I played with a Low-A (Asheville) and last year they made their big-league debut. Now we’re all here, it’s fun to get to see everybody.”
McMahon is also happy to play closer to his home in Orange County, and so are the members of his extended family.
“Yeah, it’s kind of nice. My parents are planning a trip up to Sacramento when we play there, which I think is some time soon,” he said, before adding with a laugh, “Of course, my grandma just wants to go when we play at Vegas. She’s looking forward to that.”
McMahon and the Isotopes will continue their series with the River Cats tonight at 7:05 p.m.