It is now two-plus months into the Colorado Rockies‘ 2018 season, and voting for the All-Star game is underway. That means it is once again the time of year to assess which players represent the best their position has to offer.
Shortstop Trevor Story is having the best season of his young career and is on pace to set career highs across the board. But how does he compare to other shortstops in the National League?
Brandon Crawford of the San Francisco Giants is probably Story’s biggest competition with the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Corey Seager out for the season. In addition to his typical Gold Glove defense, Crawford has raked this year. He has slashed .324/.372/.498 with 7 home runs and 27 RBI.
Story is best known for the long ball so it is not surprising that his 11 home runs are first among NL shortstops, a handful ahead of Arizona’s Nick Ahmed, St. Louis’ Paul DeJong, and Los Angeles’ Chris Taylor who are tied at 8.
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Story also leads the RBI race among NL shortstops by a ridiculous margin. Story has knocked in 41 runs, well ahead of Crawford’s 27, which is second in the league.
It may come as a surprise to those who don’t watch him on a daily basis, but Story is only five RBI back of Chicago’s Javier Baez for the top spot in the NL across all positions.
With that kind of power, it can be easy to forget that Story is one of the fastest players in baseball.
His eight stolen bases are third among NL shortstops and only one behind Cincinnati’s Jose Peraza for second.
The Washington Nationals’ Trea Turner leads the category with 17. Along with Crawford, Turner is another player likely to compete with Story for votes.
Turner has had a good first half, hitting .258 with seven home runs and 24 RBI, but the only stat that really jumps out at you is his stolen bases.
Offensively, Story only has two major weaknesses. His .242 batting average is acceptable for a guy with his kind of power, but it could be better.
The last couple months, his average has been steadily climbing, so don’t be surprised if he winds up around the .272 mark he posted in his 2016 rookie campaign.
The other case often made against Story is his high strikeout rate. He led the NL in strikeouts last season and he leads NL shortstops in Ks again so far this season. But it seems that may be more of an indication of the times than a sign of inferiority. After all, New York Yankees’ superstar and last year’s American League MVP runner-up Aaron Judge led all of baseball in strikeouts last season.
That being said, Story is making strides. His current strikeout rate of 28% is the lowest of his big league career. His walk rate has also improved to the best mark of his career at nearly 10%.
Story doesn’t just beat you with his bat.
Though Story’s fielding percentage this season has been hurt by a couple errors early-on, that does not negate the fact that he is turning into one of the best defensive shortstops in the NL.
Last season, his fielding percentage was tied for second with Crawford.
When the final votes are counted, Story might not take the top spot for his position, but he deserves a good hard look from voters.
If you like offense, Story is your guy. His stunning lead in the RBI race shows that he is far and away better than any other NL shortstop at driving in runs.
And who doesn’t want to watch him smash a homer out of Nationals Park on July 17?