The Colorado Rockies begin the second half of their season tonight versus the Atlanta Braves. They currently sit at 40-48 prior to the result of tonight, which is a distant third in the NL West. If we were to argue who the first half MVP was, it was clearly third baseman Nolan Arenado. For the second half MVP, I am also going to go with another Rockies infielder – shortstop Trevor Story, the rookie sensation.
This is a slightly biased pick because I’m also named Trevor. But this makes sense, right?!
Through 81 games, Story was hitting .260, with 21 home runs (led all NL shortstops and tied a NL rookie record), 57 RBIs (second in the NL), an OBP of .329 (8th in the NL), slugging of .545 (1st in the NL) 83 hits (tied for fifth in the NL) and 114 strikeouts (led the NL).
He has also been solid in the field, ranking 7th in the NL for shortstops with a .975 fielding percentage (9 errors on the season).
Considering he is a rookie, all of these numbers are very impressive, especially considering he is playing the most demanding (or second most demanding depending on your viewpoint versus the catcher position) on the field.
The fact he wasn’t in the All-Star game was a travesty. He clearly outperformed the player the fans voted in, Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell.
This fact is well explained by Aaron Kopelman of Mile High Sports:
"Story has a better fielding percentage (.975) this season than Russell (.971), the same amount of errors (9) and 36 more assists than Russell. He also has eight more putouts than the NL starting shortstop. Story does have more chances than Russell (356 to 308), but, with the same amount of errors, it shows Russell is more prone to making a mistake in the field than Story is."
In the last 81 games, with more experience on the field and further maturity developing, Story will only get better as the season concludes. If the Rockies fade out of contention for the second Wild Card (which will probably happen), Story will be able to focus on his at-bats and his defense without the worry of whether the team is playoff bound.
Story has the chance with the right approach and the major league experience he will gain by boosting his average to around the .280 mark, hit 35 HRs and drive in around 90.
Then in the field, he will cut down on his errors to around the 12 mark.
Story has had above-average maturity since he was a teenager, which can be hidden by his quiet nature. But he has the knack to relate to everyone, explains his former Casper Ghosts coach Tony Diaz (the Ghosts are the Rockies rookie ball affiliate), (h/t Brandon Foster of the Casper Star Tribune).
“He was a quiet kid, but mature at the same time,” said Tony Diaz, who coached the Ghosts from 2007 to 2012. “He was extremely relatable with all kinds of players. College players, Latin players, other high schoolers. … And the thing that was extremely impressive for an 18-year-old kid is how he handled failure and how he responded after making mistakes.”
Story himself has tried to stay as level-headed as possible, without going through the extreme highs and the extreme lows emotionally at this highest level.
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“Just being realistic about it, you’re not going to hit a home run every game,” Story said. “I just tried to stay as even-keeled as possible. Whether I go 0-for-4 or 4-for-4, I try not to change the way I act. It definitely doesn’t change the way I prepare.”
Story had big shoes to fill in replacing Troy Tulowitzki. But he has done so with aplomb. Considering he is still only 23, the future is just getting brighter for him.
The left side of the Rockies infield is set for years to come with Story and Nolan Arenado. In fact, it would be a shock to not see them become the best left-side infield in the majors.
Arenado will continue to garner the majority of attention. He is that good. But Story will be the team’s quiet second half MVP. He doesn’t let the distractions get to him, and he is just going to go from strength to strength.