Trevor Story has packed so much activity and detail into the first 153 games of his major league career. Hardly any aspect of his game is ordinary, and virtually every dimension of his journey is dramatic in one way or another.
Consider the plus-minus in what essentially is Story’s first full big league season, but one that has stretched over the last 16 months:
- 36 HR, 99 RBIs, 10 SB and a .254/.332/.516 slash line in 562 at-bats and 631 plate appearances.
- Fourth place in the 2016 N.L. Rookie of the Year balloting despite playing only 97 games.
- A stunning debut week that included two opening-night homers off Zack Greinke, six in his first four games and seven overall, to go with 12 RBIs.
- An alarming 201 strikeouts in those 631 plate appearances.
- A fractured left thumb that cost him the final two months of the 2016 season, and another DL stint last month due to a strained left shoulder.
- Across-the-board offensive declines through his first 56 games of this season, compared to his 2016 numbers.
On the whole, what organization wouldn’t be happy with these results from a still-developing 24-year-old who has also played dependable, rangy, and at times spectacular shortstop? Keep in mind that he was rushed to the big leagues after only 61 games at Triple-A to start the 2016 season at shortstop in the wake of Jose Reyes’ suspension.
In the short term, Story’s start to 2017 has raised some concerns. Here is his 2016 and 2017 breakdown (numbers through Thursday):
Story’s primary issue hasn’t changed. In fact, his strikeout percentage actually is up from 31.3 percent last season to 33.6 percent. However, he is drawing a higher percentage of walks compared to strikeouts.
Story’s batting average stayed below .200 from April 7 (Game 5 on the schedule) until May 30 (Game 54). He finished April with a .167/.272/.411 slash line, and bottomed at .155/.268/.381 on May 5 after a road trip through Phoenix and San Diego. When the DL stint for the strained left shoulder began after a May 9 doubleheader, Story’s slash line was at .180/.289/.396.
Since then, signs of adjustments can be seen. Story has put together a 19-for-74 stretch that has raised his average and on-base percentage, although his slugging percentage still lags.
A low BABIP (.292 compared to .343 last season) also has been a drag on his numbers, while his fly ball hitting tendencies have increased to near-extreme rates and his ground outs-air outs ratio has fallen to 0.35.
Story is a 24-year-old with one year of big league time who is experiencing a learning curve and the difficulties of sustaining excellence. Only now, the added pressure of the Rockies’ success has them smack in the middle of the N.L. playoff chase — leaving Story less margin for error.
The Rockies can only let Story’s maturation process continue, with improved results being a legitimate expectation.