by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
We all know that there are significant questions hanging over Jose Reyes, whether it’s based on his performance or the potential suspension that’s looming (as of now his trial is scheduled to begin on April 4). It comes together to mean a potential opportunity for Trevor Story, one way or another, and he’s certainly using his spring playing time to show that he’s ready to capitalize (.321, 4 HR, 10 RBI over 28 AB).
It’s been a roller coaster ride, but Story re-emerged last season while splitting time between Double & Triple-A:
- Double-A – 256 AB, .281, 10 HR, 40 RBI, 46 R, 15 SB
- Triple-A – 256 AB, .277, 10 HR, 40 RBI, 37 R, 7 SB
Throw in 40 doubles and 10 triples and his success was evident. Can the 23-year old carry his recent success into the regular season? Are there concerns regarding his production? Let’s take a look.
The big question is going to be whether or not he can hit for a strong average. As it is the numbers in 2015 were buoyed by elevated BABIP (.350 and .341) and he also struggled to make consistent contact:
- Double-A – 24.3%
- Triple-A – 24.7%
As Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 said:
“Story’s below-average hit tool has become a concern. True, his contact rate has improved but it’s still not at the point that we can put an average hit-tool on him.”
The power was obvious this past season and is something he had shown previously (67 extra base hits in ’12, 51 in ’13). Is he going to be a 30+ HR threat, even in Coors Field? Probably not, but 15-20 seems to be a fair expectation with regular playing time.
That’s going to pair well with solid speed, which has allowed him to routinely steal 20+ bases in the minors. With 15/15 potential, there’s definitely intrigue if he can correct his contact issues and produce a consistent .260+ average.
Whether he can do that or not, though, is a bit of an unknown. He did take a step in the right direction in ’15, having struggled at both High-A (27.1%) and Double-A (34.6%) in 2014. He’s also looked better this spring, with 6 K in 28 AB (though we have to give pitchers time to adjust to him). MLB.com recently said:
“His power tool is greater than his hit tool right now, but he has started to make changes to his approach, cutting down on his aggressiveness at the plate some, giving him the chance to be an average hitter as well.”
A supplemental first round pick in 2011 (45th overall), there is little doubt that he’s earned the opportunity to open the year as the starter. Chances are he struggles with his contact initially, leaving him with a poor average (think something in the .240-.250 range). However there’s hope of improvement and any shortstop who could go 15/15 or better has got to hold our attention.
Current Grade – B
Upside Grade – B+
Sources – Fangraphs, Prospect 361, MLB.com
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