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McMahon, Rodgers undaunted by challenges

Rockies prospects finding Minors success on path to big leagues
MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

DENVER -- Infield prospects Ryan McMahon and Brendan Rodgers were so effective to start the season that they forced Rockies senior development director Zach Wilson to try to find challenges for them. But they'll take a break from being challenged to be honored during today's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Marlins Park in Miami.

After hitting his way out of Double-A Hartford, McMahon, 22, on Wednesday celebrated earning Triple-A Pacific Coast League Player of the Month honors -- after his first month at Triple-A Albuquerque.

DENVER -- Infield prospects Ryan McMahon and Brendan Rodgers were so effective to start the season that they forced Rockies senior development director Zach Wilson to try to find challenges for them. But they'll take a break from being challenged to be honored during today's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Marlins Park in Miami.

After hitting his way out of Double-A Hartford, McMahon, 22, on Wednesday celebrated earning Triple-A Pacific Coast League Player of the Month honors -- after his first month at Triple-A Albuquerque.

Rodgers, 20, the Rockies' No. 1 prospect and the No. 10 prospect in the game, according to MLBPipeline.com is at Hartford after leading Lancaster to its Class A Advanced California League first-half championship.

:: 2017 Futures Game coverage ::

"Going back to last year, McMahon played 140 games on the road [at Hartford, which didn't have a stadium ready], learned a new position, first base, and was very much under the average age of the Eastern League," Wilson said. "Brendan Rodgers was on the young side in the Cal League at 20, and I think he's the youngest player in the Eastern League right now.

"So both these guys are extremely young for their leagues, but they've responded to the challenges and are playing very well."

Drafted in the second round in 2013 as a third baseman, McMahon added first base last year and second base this year. Ranked the Rockies' No. 5 prospect, McMahon is beginning to knock at the door of the Majors because of some swing adjustments he started last year, worked on during Arizona Fall League play and carried into the season.

"Ryan has really focused on staying aggressive but also being a patient hitter," said Wilson, who compared McMahon's progress to that of outfielder David Dahl last year. Dahl finished the year in the Majors. "By finding that balance, he's been able to keep a consistent, short swing.

"He has so much natural strength and natural power to his game that he doesn't have to try to create that. With experience he's starting to learn that. He can be short and direct to the ball and still create power."

At Albuquerque in June, he hit .429 with 28 RBIs, 21 extra-base hits and a .726 slugging percentage and .457 on-base percentage. During a career-best 13-game hit streak June 5-19, he hit .526 (30-for-57) with seven doubles, five home runs and 18 RBIs.

Additionally, Wilson said McMahon is moving toward becoming a "plus" (above average on a Major League scale) defender at first base. He's already solid at third and has natural ability at second.

Video: Callis, Mayo break down the top Futures Game players

Rodgers, the Rockies' top pick in 2015, was selected as a shortstop and is also learning second base. In selecting him third overall, the Rockies saw his power potential -- which came to fruition with 12 home runs, 21 doubles, three triples and a .700 slugging percentage in Lancaster.

"He finds a way to find the barrel and square up balls, and he can do it against all kinds of pitches, against right-handers and left-handers, so it was very apparent that he was ready for the next challenge," Wilson said.

The Rockies also felt his sound fundamental base and athletic ability would play well in the middle infield.

"He's made huge steps -- he has really good lateral movement, and his glove-side range has improved to where he's in a really good spot," Wilson said. "When we were going for a playoff spot, which we got, he was really clutch on defense. He played with a passion and an energy, and was saving runs and saving games."

The 2017 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game takes place today at 2 p.m. MT and can be viewed live on MLB Network and MLB.com.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.

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