Carney Column: Trevor is writing quite the story for the Rockies
Trevor Story is putting together some kind of season for the Rockies, isn’t he?
Through 95 first-half games, Story has put up monster numbers, hitting .292 with 20 home runs and 68 runs batted in, all of which helped the 25-year-old Colorado shortstop earn his first All-Star Game honors.
While those numbers are impressive through 95 games for a free-swinging shortstop like Story, they don’t tell the … well … whole story (pun intended) of Story’s breakout season.
Through nearly two full seasons of his big league career, Story struck out nearly 33 percent of the time, which is astronomical for an everyday shortstop in today’s game, even with the trend of whiffs growing in recent years. Last season, Story struck out 34.4 percent of the time, according to his Fangraphs page, which was near the top of the leaderboards across baseball. This year though, Story is making more contact, pushing his contact rate from 62.7 percent last season up to 72.1 percent this season. On top of that, Story’s ISO (isolated power) is up to .265 — a 46-point improvement from last season’s .219 mark — and his BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is an absurd .352, meaning that 35 percent of the time he puts the ball in play between the foul lines, it’s landing for a hit. That’s a top 20 mark in all of baseball.
Story won’t walk a ton — he has just 31 walks on the season in 366 at-bats — but he’s getting on base at a high clip (.353, highest of his career), and he’s putting up rookie-season numbers in slugging (.357). While Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon steal the headlines for the Rockies — and rightfully so — Story might be the key cog in the engine that makes this entire attack run at a high level. The third-year shortstop out of Irving, Texas, is top five in nearly every offensive category for shortstops in MLB, and trails just Francisco Lindor, Manny Machado and Xander Bogaerts in Offensive Runs above Average, which is the number of runs above or below average a player has been worth offensively, combining Batting Runs and Base Running Runs Above Average.
If you’re not into all the fancy stats baseball has to offer in today’s age, just know this: even in raw statistics that the older generations grew up with (average, homers, runs batted in, on-base percentage) Story ranks right up there with the best once again.
Story has the best average of his career, and has developing into a must-have component in the middle of the Rockies’ vaunted offense at Coors Field. Story trails just Arenado in home runs for Colorado, and has matched the NL MVP candidate RBI for RBI this season, as both headed into the break with 68 runs batted in. Plus Story is on pace to set the highest WAR of his career as he currently sits with 2.9, which is just one full WAR back from Arenado, good for 47th in baseball.
When watching the Rockies this season, it’s no surprise that Story is an all-star, considering he’s emerged as a crunch-time player and an outright star in his own right.
If the Rockies are to make a deep October run, they’ll obviously have to lean on Arenado and Blackmon, as well as emerging ace Kyle Freeland. But it will be up to the man with the last name of Story to tell the tale of the 2018 Rockies.
Josh Carney, the sports editor of the Post Independent, is an avid baseball fan, who clearly enjoys the use of puns every now and then. He believes that “fancy” stats in baseball, also known as advanced analytics, don’t always paint the whole picture, but they sure can help shape a … Story (I’m so sorry).