DENVER -- Rockies No. 3 prospect Ryan McMahon, not playing much in the club's push for the postseason, felt that his thought process in the batter's box seems similar to that of catcher Jonathan Lucroy, even though McMahon hits left and Lucroy hits right.
"We sat down in the food room for, like, 45 minutes," McMahon said. "To be honest, he hit me with a whole lot of stuff about all these hitters. I was like, 'You really think of all that stuff?' I was amazed."
McMahon, a third baseman and first baseman, plus outfielders Raimel Tapia and Mike Tauchman and catcher Tom Murphy, have had a combined total of 35 at-bats since the roster expanded on Sept. 1. Realistically, unless injuries occur, Tapia and Tauchman are the only ones with a shot at a postseason roster because of their speed on the bases. But it's not as if they're wasting their time.
McMahon, for example, said he has been tailing Pat Valaika, the team's top pinch-hitter, taking pregame swings alongside him. With 35 players in the clubhouse, those not expected to play regularly sometimes have to yield practice time to regulars. But it doesn't stop them from watching and taking notes.
"It's extremely valuable for my future to watch guys like Charlie Blackmon prepare every day, seeing Ian Desmond and guys like that," said McMahon, who is 2-for-14 with a double in 15 at-bats over 14 games, after hitting .355 with 20 home runs, 88 RBIs, 39 doubles and four triples combined at Double-A Hartford and Triple-A Albuquerque. "I'm seeing what guys do, paying attention to each pitch, each game."
Rockies manager Bud Black said the right approach to being with the club could make a huge difference to some of the players trying to break into the Majors.
"You hear me talk about experience is the best teacher, and them being here is a great opportunity to watch this," Black said. "Even though they're not playing a lot, they're experiencing the feel in the dugout. They're experiencing the feel in the clubhouse.
"They're experiencing the conversations, so this will not be foreign to them when this happens again. They'll be in a better position to handle what goes along with September baseball. We've given them a little bit -- not a lot, obviously -- but the time they've been here has been invaluable from a confidence standpoint."
And McMahon knows to be ready. In 2007, outfielder Seth Smith appeared in seven games, yet he became a pinch-hit star on the team's march to the World Series.