All-Stars are a rare breed. Few accomplished baseball players make it to the point where even one or two of their skills are considered elite enough within the game’s upper echelon to get recognition from colleagues, coaches or fans that earns them the elusive title of All-Star.
But there’s an even rarer breed within the All-Star family: The evasive five-tool player. There are roughly 10 players in baseball who can hit for contact, power, run, play defense and throw. One of them is the shortstop for the Colorado Rockies.
We all know about Trevor Story‘s power, as he set rookie records en route to his 27 home runs in 2016. We soon learned about his sparkling defense combined with his cannon of an arm. In 2017, he was second among shortstops in the National League in range factor per nine innings, assists, fielding percentage and sixth among all players in the NL in defensive WAR. Early in 2018, we became privy to his near-elite speed as he’s now jumped to seventh in NL in stolen bases.
The last aspect of Story’s tool-shed has arrived … and that’s hitting for contact.
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Story — hitting .295 this season heading into Wednesday’s game against San Francisco — has not only been one of the best power hitters in the game but one its best contact hitters. Currently 12th in the NL in batting average, Story has rocketed his batting average up nearly 70 points.
Our friend Daniel Kramer of MLB.com found part of his rise is due to his feasting of first pitches. Socking a league-leading 21 first-pitch extra-base-hits, this has helped him avoid two-strike counts which, in turn, prevents strikeouts.
Meanwhile, Fangraphs wrote about the down stream consequences of this earlier this week, showing his dropped K rate and rising contact rate, of which has seen him strikeout nearly 9 percent less this year than last and make contact 7 percent more of the time.