Trevor Story (COL – SS) – #2EarlyMocks ADP 22.8; NFBC ADP 19
It’s been quite a roller coaster ride for Trevor Story and his owners through three Major Leagues seasons. Story busted onto the scene with guns blazing in 2016 blasting 10 home runs in April. While his pace slowed, he still managed 27 home runs in only 97 games. Sure, he struck out over 30% of the time, but his production and power had fantasy owners salivating going into 2017. Story was drafted between 25 and 30 overall in most drafts (late 2nd/early 3rd) where he almost completely flopped. He did manage to hit 24 homers and steal seven bases but with a .239 average from one of your first three picks can really sting. Naturally, Story’s draft value dipped to near 100 overall making him an intriguing option at Shortstop for 2018. I ranked Story around 70 overall coming into 2018 because I believed in his skill and projected him for 30 homers and 10 steals, well worth a top 70 pick.
So, I guess I missed on Story as he went gangbusters hitting 37 bombs with 27 steals in 2018. The power was always there but the speed!?! Maybe we shouldn’t have been all that surprised considering Story regularly stole 20-25 bases in the minors each year. Story ranked seventh (tied with Ronald Acuna Jr.) in terms of sprint speed in 2018, so his speed is also legit. Could it be possible that a top 10 overall performer in 2018 be underrated in 2019? Right now, Story is going as the 24th player off the board in the 2 Early Mocks just before Andrew Benintendi and right after Javy Baez and Giancarlo Stanton. Let’s find out if Story’s lofty ADP is legit or are owners in for another disappointment.
Let’s start with Story’s most significant improvement, his decreased strikeout rate. A massive 8.8% dip in K rate was backed by an improved Z-Contact rate of 7.3% and a decrease in SwStr of 2.7%. In addition, Story became MORE aggressive by attacking pitches more frequently inside the zone up from 66% in 2017 to 71% in 2018. That’s huge! Story was able to recognize pitches inside the zone and attacked them resulting in a higher quality of contact. We see that with an improved batted ball profile, it allowed Story to get himself in fewer deep-ball counts resulting in fewer strikeouts. Take a look at the graph below compared to 2017.
The batted ball profile for Story was more balanced. He hit fewer fly balls that resulted in popups and more line drives. That’s about it. To give you an idea of how well Story’s quality of contact was in 2018, his value hits per xStats was 13.2% up from 9.2% in 2017 (league average is 9.1%). That 13.2% VH was tied with Mookie Betts in 2018 or tied for 10th best for players with at least 400 plate appearances. Here’s a short list of players that had value hit% lower than Story in 2018: Mike Trout, Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, Matt Carpenter, and Giancarlo Stanton among others. So yes, Story makes elite contact.
The final component that culminated in the success for Story in 2019 was keeping the strikeout rate in check. Story simply recognized pitches outside the zone more frequently in 2018 compared to 2017 and laid off those pitches. Going forward, keep an eye on his O-Swing (swings outside the zone). It’s crept up about 1.5% above league average when in 2016 it was about 2% below league average. It’s not significant yet, but if pitchers throw him fewer strikes, he needs to lay off and take his walks. That contradicts his aggressive approach from 2018 but Story appears to be making strides in his plate discipline.
I haven’t touched on his steals save for the second paragraph but Story was 27 out of 33 in SB opportunities. At an 82% success rate, I believe Story has a great shot at 20-24 steals in 2019. My projections for Story are going to depend on whether or not he can lay off breaking pitches outside the zone which he struggled with this past postseason (I am aware that it was only four games). What I am confident in, is that Story is a smart baseball player willing to make adjustments and has successfully done so. Story will likely hit between 30-35 homers with 18-23 steals while maintaining an average in the upper-.270s (thank you Coors). Based on my analysis, I’d place him about 5-8 picks above Javy Baez and a top-20 overall pick going into the 2019 draft season.
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