Is McMahon a Gold Glove contender?

June 26th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Thomas Harding’s Rockies Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

The numbers are beginning to break the way of Rockies third baseman , because the chances are breaking his way. They did Sunday during a 4-3 home victory over the Angels.

“I don’t control the opportunities or anything like that,” McMahon said. “Based on where I was positioned, they hit it to me a couple of times. They were tough plays to make, and luckily I made them all.”

At this rate, there could be a Gold Glove conversation -- one that usually begins and ends with his former teammate, the Cardinals’ Nolan Arenado, who has won it 10 straight years.

“That was one of the better defensive days I’ve seen for a third baseman in a long time,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “I saw Nolan for five years. Nolan is a Gold Glover, a great defender. But those plays today that ‘Mac’ made were tough.”

Black was referring to three plays:

• A throw from the grass to retire speedy Mike Trout to end the eighth inning.

• A do-or-don't throw to beat Luis Rengifo to end the game.

• A third-to-first double play on a Mickey Moniak bouncer to end the second inning.

The Gold Glove award is voted by opposing managers and coaches, with a Society of American Baseball Research component factored in. Statistically, McMahon deserves consideration.

According to Fangraphs, McMahon and the Pirates’ Ke’Bryan Hayes are tied for the NL lead with 10 defensive runs saved (DRS) -- a key measure. According to Statcast, McMahon’s nine outs above average (OAA) trail only Hayes’ 11.

Hayes has had more opportunity at third base -- 622 2/3 defensive innings this season. McMahon played most of April at second base in an experiment to replace the injured Brendan Rodgers. He has 490 2/3 innings at third.

It could be hard for voters to turn away from Arenado, but he sits at minus-3 DRS and minus-2 OAA. Still, he has been a transcendent defender throughout his career.