Has Colorado Rockies All-Star shortstop Trevor Story already had a couple of potential home runs negated because of the baseball being used in Major League Baseball games in 2021?
As has been well documented, MLB made a change to the baseball for the 2021 campaign which, in a memo sent before the season began, would keep balls traveling more than 375 feet an additional foot or two shorter than they might have been in previous seasons.
So has the new baseball impacted Trevor Story’s 2021 home run totals for the Colorado Rockies?
In a call with Rockies media on Tuesday afternoon, including Rox Pile, Rockies All-Star outfielder Charlie Blackmon subtly suggested that Story’s offensive statistics might have been impacted by the new ball already this season. Rather than celebrating a couple of home runs in the season-opening series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Story headed back to the bench with a couple of long fly outs.
"“I do know that a couple balls Trevor hit that maybe were home runs in the past but now that we changed the ball slightly weren’t home runs this past series,” Blackmon said."
Yes, he’s talking about balls being hit at Coors Field being impacted. Take that into consideration as well as your head might start to fill with thoughts of every pop fly leaving the park at altitude.
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According to Baseball Savant, Story has certainly been unlucky with where his fly outs have come so far this season in Denver. His expected home runs by park (xHR) heading into Tuesday’s series opener with the Arizona Diamondbacks at Coors Field was 2.7, yet Story was still searching for his first homer of the season after the four-game series against the Dodgers … all played at Coors Field.
In fact, according to Baseball Savant, Coors and Chase Field are the only two of the 30 MLB parks where Story wouldn’t already have a home run this season. In nine parks, Story would already have four home runs this year.
That perhaps includes this 425-foot double that Story recorded against the Dodgers on Saturday night.
Could the new baseball have kept it from climbing higher to clear the fence? Perhaps.
Story also hit two fly balls 415 and 411 feet that night, both reaching the warning track in some of the deepest parts of Coors.
Heading into an offseason where Story will likely become one of the highest-paid shortstops in Major League Baseball, it will be interesting to see just how many long fly balls Story hits for outs that could have perhaps been a home run in another season.