In this weekly piece our lowly trained amateur scout examines the most talked about players in Major League Baseball. Many scouts have the benefit of MLB experience, thousands of dollars of equipment and resources, and a honed eye for talent. This analyst has none of the above, but what he does have are a very particular set of skills: Namely access to every televised MLB game, 20+ years of experience yelling at poor players and worse umpires, and copious amounts of free time. These are his stories.
*Insert clever pun here*
Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way. One of the advantages that amateur scouts like myself have over the professional kind, aside from being immeasurably sexier, is ease of access to a DVR remote. I have paused, rewound, slowed down, and played through Trevor Story’s first seven major league home runs dozens of times. I have analyzed his swing, taken note of his stance, and gotten a feel for his tools. The results are as follows:
Let me just say, it’s a pretty one. Story swings like a prototypical power hitter, his hands in tight close to his body, his bat moving fast through the zone and cutting upwards generating lift. His swing does seem to be geared towards low ball hitting, and most of his home runs were off pitches in the middle or lower part of the zone. Once pitchers start to bury breaking balls in the dirt and throw more fastballs up and in it will be up to Story’s batter’s eye to keep the strikeouts at a manageable level until he gets a pitch he can drive.
Let’s get back to the big boy waving that stick though. Story has above average bat speed coupled with tremendous strength. He brings the barrel of the bat through the zone with such force that it’s no wonder that the majority of his hits to this point have been of the long ball variety. His weight transfer is also excellent and well timed. You can draw a perfect line from Story’s head to his knee on his back leg at the time the ball impacts the bat, which is exactly what you want to see in a power hitter.
Story does not employ a high leg kick, but has a rather small step/kick forward when he swings. This element of his stance coupled with his relaxed muscles prior to the swing lead to him having a very quiet body and a simple, clean swing with few moving parts. It may seem like a small thing to key in on but the fact that Story doesn’t sell out for power with his stance and demeanor at the dish makes me think that he can improve on the weakest part of his game, namely a propensity for striking out.
Story has above average power, especially at the shortstop position. Of his seven home runs, five have traveled over 400 feet. The shortest traveled 368 feet (Source: ESPN Home Run Tracker). Now, to be fair, all of Story’s home runs have come at either Chase Field or Coors Field, two of the most homer friendly ballparks in the majors. That being said, even if Story has a significantly higher HR rate at home than away, he could still threaten for 30 home runs, and that would make him one of the best hitting shortstops in the majors regardless of how often he strikes out.
I would be remiss if I did not mention that Story also has a sharp glove and range at the SS position, at least from the limited sample that we have seen so far. It’s not the aspect of his game that is getting the most attention, but every positive note counts when you have a name brand player like Jose Reyes breathing down your neck for playing time.
I was one of the biggest Trevor Story doubters going into the season. His high strikeout numbers in the minors and my own tendency to want to find a reason to be pessimistic over anything that other people are excited about almost led me to dismiss him out of hand. However the film doesn’t lie, and the new Rockies SS has real ability to back up the highlight reel. If you’re in a fantasy league expect streaky power as major league pitchers try to beat him with heat up in the zone and breaking balls in the dirt (but not away, as Zack Greinke learned). However I project a floor of 25 home runs, and at SS with good defense, that’s plenty to get excited about.
Last Minute Musings:
Fun Fact: The home run with the fastest Speed off the Bat (SOB) so far this season was hit by another Rockies slugger, Carlos Gonzalez at 119.3 MPH (ESPN Home Run Tracker).
Noah Syndergaard has posted 21 K’s through his first two starts. He is also the only Mets starter to not have Tommy John Surgery yet…
Jose Fernandez lost his first ever start at Marlins Park in his season opener. His stuff is as nasty as ever though and he was the victim to a combination of bad luck and a poor final inning. Have confidence going forward.
Kenta Maeda allowed 0 Runs in his MLB opener and had a home run to boot. However he was facing the punchless Padres and I agree with other scouts that his stuff is not that of a strikeout pitcher and in the second half of the season I expect him to be hit much harder.
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Feature Image: Mark J Rebilas-USA Today Sports