DENVER -- The Rockies' Ryan McMahon admitted enjoying the buzz that comes with being considered a prospect. Fans recognize him by sight and extend their baseballs, cards and anything else for him to sign. But deep down, he enjoys the littlest of fans, those who may not yet be familiar with the top-prospect lists.
"My favorite thing is the kids who kind of want to have their ball or stuff like that signed," McMahon said. "They really don't know who you are. That's more fun for me, because I remember being that kid who was like, 'I don't know who this is, but I just got a baseball player to sign my ball. I'm going to hold on to this forever.'"
McMahon ranks second on MLB Pipeline's list of Top 10 first-base prospects, released Friday.
:: Top 10 Prospects by Position ::
The left-handed-hitting McMahon, 23, batted .355 with 20 home runs, 43 other extra-base hits, 88 RBIs, a .403 on-base percentage and .583 slugging percentage between Double-A Hartford and Triple-A Albuquerque last season. He ranks behind only the Rays' Brendan McKay, who doubles as a pitcher. McMahon also went 3-for-19 over 17 games in the Majors, as the Rockies brought him up to experience their run to the postseason.
The possibilities are wide open for McMahon in 2018.
Drafted out of Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif., in the second round in 2013 as a third baseman, McMahon added first base in 2016, and second base last year. With Mark Reynolds exploring free agency, McMahon is preparing at all three positions in the event other moves affect his positioning.
First base is part of right-handed-hitting Ian Desmond's profile. So even if the Rockies don't sign Reynolds or another veteran, they can ease McMahon in with matchups in the beginning. They can also build experienced depth and use Spring Training to judge if McMahon is truly ready. And keeping fresh at the other positions could make McMahon a possibility in the case of injury to a pair of All-Stars/Gold Glove Award winners -- third baseman Nolan Arenado and second baseman DJ LeMahieu.
McMahon was one of the youngest players in Double-A in 2016. Not only did he play for a Hartford team that didn't have a home stadium -- meaning every game was a road trip and meals were sporadic -- but he went to instructional ball and the Arizona Fall League. He was skinny by season's end, and now he is a muscular 215 pounds, and believes it's possible he can maintain his size and strength.
"It's just exciting for everything that's going to happen, everything this team is capable of and the personal things that can happen for me," McMahon said. "There's a lot of excitement surrounding this team. I'm just ready for it."