What an amazing month April was for Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story. The rookie burst onto the scene with two homers on Opening Day, another the next day, and another the day after that. And then, in his home debut against the Padres, he hit two more — making him the first player in baseball history to hit six dingers in the first four games of a season. From Ruth to Gehrig to Williams, no player in the game’s storied history has begun his career on a louder note.
By the end of the month, Story had tied Jose Abreu‘s record for most homeruns by a rookie (10) in April. He is a fan favorite and well on his way to joining Nolan Arenado and CarGo as faces of the Rockies franchise.
In addition to Story’s incredibly pun-centric name (even we couldn’t resist the headline), here are 10 things you need to know about the exciting Rockies rookie:
- It’s important to note that Story is just 23 years old. The 45th overall pick in the 2011 MLB draft, Story entered the 2016 season as a top ten organizational prospect by both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus. However, he has not been a top 100 prospect under either popular grading system since 2012.
- Through the first 25+ games this season, Story has kept company with some of the best sluggers in the game. In his first 100 at bats (May 3), Story amassed 10 homeruns, 19 runs, 20 RBI, and a .965 OPS.
- Thanks to his historic start, Story’s bat and batting gloves are already at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. He is the first rookie to hit seven home runs over a six-game span at any point in a MLB season.
- He was named the National League rookie of the month in April – the first Rockies player to be so honored since third baseman Ian Stewart won it in July 2008.
- Story has recently noticed a surge in his popularity. According to Ben Reiter at si.com, “[d]uring his first week in Colorado, when he was still living in a hotel, he took his girlfriend out to dinner at the Cherry Cricket, an old Denver burger joint. When his server brought the check, Story saw that he had been given a discount of 27 dollars; his number is 27.”
- Story strikes out a lot (41 K’s through his first 100 at bats), but he also makes a ton of contact, and when he connects, the ball flies. Six of his first 10 homeruns were mashed 425 feet or longer, which suggests that he might just have some pretty special power for a middle infielder.
- The rookie displays an endearing persona while honoring his departed grandpa. Via Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post, “[e]very time he rounds third and heads home after smashing a homerun, “Story offers a quiet, little salute to his late grandfather as he hops on the plate. Rather than bat-flipping braggadocio, which seems to be all the rage in baseball … [Story] gently raises his right fist under the chin, as if to push his head toward heaven, then briefly points to the sky and thanks Grandpa Darrel, who drove a Borden milk truck for a living in Texas on too many sizzling hot summer days to count. ‘My grandfather was a big part of my baseball life. It’s a salute to him.’”
- Rockies manager Walt Weiss named Story his opening-day starter, thanks in large part to the club’s placement of incumbent shortstop Jose Reyes on paid leave pending resolution of his domestic violence case.
- Story, who last pitched full time in high school, can hit 96 mph when throwing a fastball from the mound.
- The shortstop committed to Louisiana State University on a full college baseball scholarship before opting to instead sign a $915,000 bonus after he was drafted by the Rockies.
Sure, it’s early, and small sample sizes are not always indicative of future results. Story has historically acknowledged issues with his strikeout rate as he’s progressed through the minor leagues. But at this point, it’s probably safe to say that his power is not a fluke. Power hitting — specifically home runs — has steadily decreased in Major League Baseball from its pinnacle in the early 2000s. In fact, home runs in total have dropped nearly 25% over the last 14 years.
Story probably can’t keep up his current hard hit rate, but he has given us a glimpse of an incredibly bright future. With five months of ball to play this year, and a full career in front of him, we’re going to learn a lot about his chances of sticking at the Major League level.
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