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Ryan McMahon’s journey culminates with a Rockies’ roster spot

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Rockies news and links for March 29, 2018

Happy Opening Day! It’s been a long offseason, but we made it!

Inside the long journey of Colorado’s bright young star | BSN Rockies
Ryan McMahon was 18 when he hit .321/.402/.583 for the Grand Junction Rockies, his first stop in a long road that has now culminated with a spot on the Colorado Rockies’ Opening Day 25-man roster. Now 23, McMahon has an opportunity to cement himself in the big leagues.

If you know anything about McMahon, you know it wasn’t always smooth sailing to get to the point where he is now. In 2016, his first season at Double-A, McMahon slashed only .242/.325/.399, and was relegated to repeating the level to begin 2017. McMahon thrived for the Hartford YardGoats to begin the campaign, and was even better upon his promotion to the Albuquerque Isotopes, the Rockies’ Triple-A affiliate. He ultimately earned his major-league call up, but only appeared in 17 games with the Rockies to close out 2017.

McMahon is coming off an excellent Spring Training, and has been rewarded with a spot on the 2018 Opening Day roster. For McMahon, it has been a process of maturing into adulthood, writes BSN Denver’s Drew Creasman. It’s not entirely clear if McMahon will be handed the reigns to patrol first base on a full-time basis to begin the season, or if he will be eased into a major-league role, but as Creasman writes, it is “abundantly clear; Ryan McMahon is a major leaguer.”

Kiszla: You’ll know Rockies are legit contenders if Ryan McMahon takes job at 1B from Ian Desmond | The Denver Post ($)
The primary hurdle McMahon faces on a quest to achieve playing time is Ian Desmond, the $22 million man at first base. It was a trying inaugural campaign in Denver for Desmond, who struggled to a (not very nice) 69 wRC+ in 2017. Any projection system would lead you to believe that Desmond can at least progress to the mean in 2018, but even that output could be exceeded by McMahon’s talents. Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post writes that McMahon taking first base over from Desmond will be the clear sign that the Colorado Rockies are contenders in the upcoming season.

Colorado Rockies: Why I’m picking Jon Gray to win the 2018 Cy Young | Rox Pile
Of course, the allocation of appearances for position players may not be the most vital component of the Rockies having success. There’s the matter of the starting rotation as well. Luckily, the Rockies may have a Cy Young Award winner on their hands in Jon Gray, writes Rox Pile’s Jake Shapiro. Gray, who has stated his own desire to pitch 200 innings, will be a National League Cy Young favorite if he reaches that plateau in 2018, opines Shapiro.

Colorado Rockies: German Marquez will prove to be a better ace | Rox Pile
Also from Rox Pile, Olivia Greene has another candidate in mind for breaking out as an ace in 2018—Germán Márquez. It was a promising rookie campaign for Marquez, who finished 5th in the 2017 National League Rookie of the Year voting, though I think one could make a solid argument that he deserved to finish as high as second.

BSN Rockies Podcast: Chad Bettis and Ryan McMahon ready for Opening Day | BSN Rockies
In the latest BSN Rockies podcast, Drew Creasman presents audio from his conversations with McMahon and Chad Bettis, both of whom are excited to start their respective 2018 seasons. Creasman also answers fan questions, including an explanation of how McMahon and even David Dahl could see a good amount of playing time in 2018.

Rox open ‘18 looking to purge NLWC demons | Rockies.com
MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert previews tonight’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, a rematch of last year’s National League Wild Card Game. Rockies middle infielders DJ LeMahieu and Trevor Story are quoted in the story, mentioning their high expectations for the game and the season overall.

Of vitally important note, the bullpen cart will be utilized for both teams tonight, if they so choose to partake. And let me tell you, there’s nothing that would make me happier than to see Chris Rusin enter a game in a bullpen cart.

Colorado Rockies: Road trip wish list for Opening Week | Rox Pile
Rox Pile’s Nick Bunney runs down the opening road trip wish list for the Rockies as they face the Diamondbacks in Arizona for three games, and then head to San Diego for a four-game set with the Padres. This list consists of “break in the new toys” (Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw, and Chris Iannetta), “put the doubt to rest” (hot starts from Story and Carlos Gonzalez), and “pick their pockets” (steal some bases).

If these Rockies want to win a World Series, they must mimic the Marlins of old | Mile High Sports
In a very interesting piece, Casey Light of Mile High Sports draws parallels between the 2018 Rockies and the 2003 World Champion Florida Marlins. Notably, Light writes that the current Rockies possess a superior offense and bullpen compared to the ’03 Fish, but the similarities become most apparent in the youthful rotations. If the Rockies make it to the World Series this season, they would have the third-youngest rotation since the beginning of the 21st century. The ’03 Marlins are the second-youngest as it stands right now. In a fun exercise, Light also compares current Rockies rotation members to former Marlins starters.

Colorado Rockies Latino Top 10: Serious Latino Lumber | La Vida Baseball
La Vida Baseball is ranking each franchise’s top 10 Latino players in history (by WAR), and the Rockies are the latest to receive rankings. Coming in at number one is Nolan Arenado, whose father was born in Cuba, and whose mother is from Puerto Rico.