McMahon earns 'very deserving' 1st career All-Star nod

July 7th, 2024

DENVER -- was finally rewarded for his years of unheralded excellence when he was named to the 2024 National League All-Star Game on Sunday by a vote of players, managers, and coaches -- those who know his work best.

“For me, personally, getting voted in by the players, that's the biggest honor that I can receive as a player, so I'm extremely happy,” McMahon said. “It feels really good, [and] hard, because I've seen a lot of ups and downs, so to get this done feels pretty good.”

McMahon got the news at a special team meeting Sunday two hours before first pitch. The players, coaches, and organizational personnel were all eager to celebrate a homegrown Rockie achieving a career milestone.

“It was super cool,” McMahon said of the gathering. “The grind with the guys and the bond that builds when you're going through this 162-game season. You're going through Spring Training together. You're going to workouts in the offseason where you're talking. So to be embraced by those guys, to feel the [genuineness] of it all from those guys, just felt really good for me.”

McMahon was an All-Star at every level he played in the Minors, but it’s his first time as a Major League All-Star, despite being a top-tier defender for years and a persistent middle-of-the-lineup threat. He’s been a Gold Glove finalist at the hot corner for three years straight, since moving from second to third, his natural position, following Nolan Arenado’s departure from Colorado.

“What’s the saying, ‘Always a bridesmaid, never a bride?'” McMahon said. “I feel like I’m getting married finally.”

In past seasons, maintaining his consistency at the plate over the course of a full season has been a challenge for McMahon, but he is having his most consistent offensive season while anchoring the Rockies’ strong defense. His previous career high batting average was .254 in 2021, and he entered Sunday hitting .272, nearly 20 points higher than any pre-All-Star break average he’s posted so far.

“It's awesome,” Kyle Freeland said. “We came through the Minor League system together, and I was able to see him grow into the baseball player he is today. It’s hard to put into words, seeing someone who you came up with and have grinded through the Minor Leagues with to now [be] an All-Star. We're all so happy for him, and we'll be watching. Can't wait to see him play. He’s very deserving.”

Heading into play Sunday, McMahon led all National League third basemen with a .349 on-base percentage, was second in average (.272), OPS (.802), hits (90), and total bases (151) while being tied for second in home runs (14) and third in RBI (45). His 14 home runs are two shy of the most he’s hit before the All-Star break (16 in 2021), and he still has a week to go.

Defensively, McMahon leads all NL third basemen in total chances (258) and assists (198), is tied for second among Major League third basemen with five defensive runs saved, and his 0.8 dWAR is the most for those playing a minimum of 75 percent of their games at third base.

“He learned from Nolan and DJ [LeMahieu] and [Ian] Desmond and [Carlos González], being around those guys, and now he's passing that along, the professionalism, what it means to be an everyday player,” manager Bud Black said. “He's going to represent us well when he goes down there to Texas and walks into that clubhouse.”

The eight-year veteran is a leader in the clubhouse, a steady presence alongside the likes of Charlie Blackmon and Freeland, representing the heart of the Rockies.

“It's been a long time coming,” said Brendan Rodgers. “He's kind of been snipped on some end-of-the-year awards and probably All-Stars in the past. It's really, really cool to see someone I've played with for quite some time now [get this recognition]. I remember watching him make his debut, and being able to play together for four or five years now, it's been an honor to roll some smooth double plays with him and to usually hit right behind him in the lineup. I've seen what he's done all year, and he's more than deserving, so we're all super happy for him.”

After seven consecutive seasons of having at least two representatives on the All-Star roster, this marks the fourth straight season with the Rockies only earning one selection. Last year, Elías Díaz was Colorado’s representative at the Midsummer Classic in Seattle, coming home with the All-Star Game MVP Award after his game-winning pinch-hit home run in the eighth inning.