No full-time position player has struggled as much for the Colorado Rockies in 2017 as shortstop Trevor Story has. Although the team as a unit has surprisingly found itself in first place, Story himself does not deserve much credit for the club’s 9-5 record.
A former first round pick, Story’s career has been up and down. After being selected out of high school in the 2011 draft, Story was streaky as far back as the minor leagues. He only ranked among Baseball-America’s top 100 prospects once while in the minors, placing 96 prior to 2013. He disappointed for the Single-A Modesto Nuts that season, hitting 12 homers and batting .233 with an outrageous 183 strikeouts. He earned serious looks in 2015, splitting time between Double and Triple-A while cutting down on his strikeouts a bit, dipping to 141 while hitting a personal-best 20 homers.
It seems like an eternity ago that Story burst onto the scene for the Rockies. On Opening Day 2016, he went 2-6 with two home runs. Over his next five games, he connected for five more homers. He hit .309 with eight longballs in his first 13 games. Story looked like a sure-fire bet to make the National League All-Star team as a rookie, with incredible flashes of power.
While Story’s batting average would dip below .300 the remainder of the year, hitting .259 in May with just four homers, an improved month of June, where he hit .284 with a .370, showed his April wasn’t a complete fluke. With Story proving to be a valuable asset at shortstop, this allowed the club to release the dead-weight of Jose Reyes, who never appeared in a game in 2016 with Colorado after playing in 47 games for them the previous year.
Story’s 2016 season ended early, coming after he experienced his best month since April, hitting eight homers at driving in a season-high 22 runs. On August 2, he was placed on the disabled list with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his thumb, never to return the rest of the year. He was among the finalist for the NL All-Star Final Vote, but his regression at the plate and injury status saw him lose to the San Francisco Giants’ Brandon Belt. He ended his shortened debut-season with 130 strikeouts in just 97 games, while his 27 homers where enough to gain him some votes for Rookie of the Year, where he finished fourth in voting despite missing the last two months of the season.
Now in 2017, Story has struggled mightily. Through his first 14 games, he holds and abysmal .114 batting average and a .264 OBP. Since going 3-10 in his first three games against the Milwaukee Brewers, he is 2 for his last 34, striking out 16 times. He has just four extra base hits, with his lone home run coming on April 13 against the San Francisco Giants.
Story has been completely lost at the plate this April, totally the opposite of his performance this time last year. It looked like he could not only adequately replace Reyes, but even hold his own with the franchises’ face at shortstop, the since-departed Troy Tulowitzki.
The is still plenty of time left for Story to re-emerge as a powerful and game-changing bat, but this latest chapter in his career has left fans wondering when again, if ever, he will display the skills he showed last April.
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