Trevor Story: Shortstop Points: 39 Highest Rank: 3 Lowest Rank: 13
It didn’t take long for Story to become the talk of baseball last season. In his second career MLB at-bat, he did this to Zack Greinke.
It was a sign of things to come, as Story continued blasting home runs at a record-setting pace. He became the first player in MLB history to hit four homers in his first three games, then the first rookie ever to hit 10 home runs in April. When Story’s season was cut short by a thumb injury in late July, he had already hit 27 bombs and driven in 72 runs.
Power will likely always be his best tool, but Story is more than just a slugger. By nearly any measure, he’s at least a capable shortstop, and advanced defensive statistics indicated that his range was among the best in the league last year. The Story-Arenado combo on the left side of the infield is one of the strongest defensive pairings in baseball, outside of their incredible work with the bat.
Story has one very clear weakness as a player: strikeouts. 31.3% of his at-bats ended with a K, the 5th-highest rate among all hitters with at least 400 plate appearances in 2016. This isn’t necessarily something Story has to fix. There are plenty of power hitters who strike out frequently and are still successful in the major leagues. But if Story wants to improve upon his .272 batting average from last year, he’s almost certainly going to have to put the ball in play more often.
Even if Story continues to swing and miss more often than he’d like, it’s hard to knock him too much. He was given a near-impossible task last year: replacing one of the most talented, popular players in franchise history at shortstop. He proved himself, both to the fans and to the rest of baseball, as a worthy heir to Troy Tulowitzki’s former spot, and he did it in less than a week.
I could continue to gush about Story, or list all the franchise and league records he broke or threatened in 2016. But nothing I write could be as pretty as Story’s 27th and final home run last season, a 456-foot rocket to left-center field. Enjoy.