When seeing Colorado Rockies shortstop prospect Trevor Story in person, very little about his all-around game strikes one as sexy beyond his current triple slash line of .283/.395/.535. However, as a teenager in the South Atlantic League, Story’s numbers are on par with the best middle infield prospects in the game which has led to many questions about his ceiling and comparisons to Nolan Arenado, the current king of the Rockies prospect mountain.
Overshadowed by uber-prospect Dylan Bundy during my trip to Asheville, Story stood out on a day where I made a pact with myself to pay Asheville prospects little mind. With my only receiving a single look at the Delmarva Shorebirds (Baltimore Orioles) after a rain out ruined my chances at multiple looks, my ability to catch the Tourists a couple of times in Rome during the month of May meant I could circle back around for coverage at a later date.
However, with nothing better to do in Asheville, I found myself at the stadium at 3:00 p.m. for a seven o’clock first pitch and settled in to watch Story put in a full day of defensive reps and batting practice. On full display was a strong all-around set of tools supported by a high level of baseball skill. And while no one aspect of his all-around game had the “wow” factor of Arenado’s hit tool when I scouted him in 2010, the sum of the parts left Story in contention for the best shortstop prospect I’ve seen in person not named Jurickson Profar.
When taking defensive reps, Story worked with the intensity of big leaguer as he practiced precision footwork up the middle. At a time when many young players would simply move from activity to activity with little attention to detail, the shortstop left me with the impression that he had a fantastic work ethic – important in gauging whether or not a player will max out his respective set of tools.. From taking proper angles deep in the hole to quick turns around the bag at second base, Story was efficient in his baseball movements and looked the part of a shortstop. With his being more of an average runner with a frame to add size, that footwork and field awareness will be key to his projecting as a middle infielder long term.
Additionally, talk of Story to third base seems rushed at this point after seeing him go deep to both his left and right in game action to to field balls few shortstops are able to at the South Atlantic League level. With Troy Tulowitzki under contract into Story’s prime years, second base seems a more likely landing spot at this point given his range and footwork. Of course the potential for Story to eventually become a valuable trade chip should he gain a bit more traction as a true shortstop prospect may also be tempting to Colorado.
On offense, Story admittedly didn’t do much as he not only hit towards the bottom of the batting order, but went down swinging against uber-prospect Dylan Bundy in his first plate appearance. From seeing how he handled the bat during batting practice, one can’t help but be impressed with his ability to stay closed and keep his hands inside the ball. Story is not a power hitter per se, but his patient approach and compact swing will allow him to consistently barrel the baseball. And as a contact recently stated, “50 power with solid barrel contact will hit more home runs than 70 power with monster strikeout totals because of the ability to consistently make hard contact”. Story may wind up being a strong example of this in practice compared to a Wilin Rosario who has more raw power but no discernible plate discipline.
With two upcoming four game sets at the Rome Braves before the end of the month, ample opportunity exists for me to continue coverage on Trevor Story and gain more insight from game situations. And while I’m extremely bullish on the young shortstop after a single, albeit extended look, much of the story on Trevor Story is still left to be written.