Move over Nolan Arenado, there is a new MVP candidate playing for the Colorado Rockies. You don’t have to look far, Nolan. He is playing 50 feet to your left instead of center field. Trevor Story is enjoying a breakout season and has joined the very early MVP conversation.
Last season, Arenado had his signature moment for his MVP candidacy with his walk-off home run to complete the cycle on Father’s Day. Story’s moment on Sunday may not have been for the cycle but it was just as dramatic as his walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth sent the Rockies into the All-Star break 4-3 winners over the Seattle Mariners. Watch Story’s dramatic homer here.
Story heads into his first All-Star appearance on Tuesday night on an absolute tear. During the Rockies’ latest hot streak of 13 wins in 16 games, Story has been on fire, hitting 26-for-59 (.440) with eight runs, four home runs and 10 RBI.
To put his season totals into prespective, he is tied for eighth with Arenado in the National League in hits (107), tied for sixth in homers (20), tied for fourth with Nolan in RBI (68), 13th in stolen bases (12) and16th in batting average (.292). He is also in the running for his first career Gold Glove as he is currently fourth in fielding percentage among NL shortstops to go along with his countless highlight reel plays.
I will admit that, in the past, I have been critical of Story’s play. Most of that criticism revolved around his strikeouts. After leading the Majors last season with 192, Story began the first two months of the season doing much of the same, striking out 31 percent of the time. Since June 1, however, he has adjusted and lowered his strikeouts to 37 times in his last 159 at-bats (23 percent), dropping his season rate down to 28 percent. Also during that time, Story has incredibly raised his slash line from .237/.324/.474 to .292/.353/.557.
If Story wants to truly legitimize his MVP hopes, there is one huge thing that could help his chances. He does have some work to do (sitting at 12 stolen bases) but he could become the first Rockies player to join the 30/30 club since Larry Walker did it in his 1997 MVP season. It would also be the first time since Ryan Braun and Mike Trout accomplished that feat in 2012 (both finished second in MVP voting in their respective leagues).
Of course, if last year taught us anything, winning the MVP in Colorado is a long shot. Even with Charlie Blackmon‘s record-setting season for a leadoff hitter and Nolan being Nolan, both players still finished outside the top three in voting. So, once again, having two candidates (Story and Arenado) on the same team would likely split votes … plus we can never forget about the idiotic media bias against playing at Coors Field.
There are 66 games remaining in the season, so if Story has any hope, the Rockies must keep winning and make a run at the playoffs. The way Story has played (and sometimes carried this team) the last six weeks, that shouldn’t be an issue as he has firmly placed his name in the MVP conversation.