The Colorado Rockies dealt Troy Tulowitzki at the trade deadline last season; thus, did Trevor Story make Tulowitzki expendable?
The Colorado Rockies selected Trevor Story in the first round (45th overall) of the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft out of Irving High School in Texas. While in high school, Story demonstrated great bat speed and nice power. Additionally, he flashes some solid defense to go along with his offensive-minded approach to the game. After signing with the Colorado Rockies in the summer of 2011, the Rockies assigned Story to the Rookie-Level Casper Ghosts.
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Trevor Story played 47 games in his first professional season in the Rockies’ organization. He demonstrated his power by hitting eight doubles and six home runs. Story possessed a .268/.346/.436 slash line. In addition to his bat, Story recorded 13 stolen bases against just one caught stealing. Story finished the 2011 season with a 12.4 percent walk rate and a 19.5 percent strike out rate. While the walk rate is impressive, Story needs to cut down on his strike out rate going forward.
Following Trevor Story’s first professional season, the Colorado Rockies decided to promote Story to Single-A Asheville, where he spent his first full season as a professional. Story impressed in his first full season, hitting 18 home runs, driving in 63 RBI, and scoring 96 runs. Story played in 122 games for the Asheville Tourists, and he finished the 2012 season with a .277/.367/.505 slash line. Also, Story posted a stellar 138 weighted runs created (wRC+), showing what type of offense he brings to the table.
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Trevor Story continued his steady assent through the Colorado Rockies’ farm system in 2013, this time starting the season at High-A Modesto. 2013 marked one of Trevor Story’s worst seasons as a professional, but he still posted solid offensive numbers. In 130 games with the Modesto Nuts, Story hit 12 home runs and drove in 65 RBI. However, he registered the lowest slash line of his career, .233/.305/.394. Story saw his strike out rate soar from 2012 to 2013, increasing from 22.1 percent to an abysmal 33.0 percent. Despite Story’s off-season at the plate, he managed to steal a career-high 23 bases out of 24 attempts.
In 2014, Trevor Story played between three leagues. Due to his poor performance at High-A in 2013, the Rockies decided to let Story start the 2014 season at Low-A Tri-City. Story’s time at High-A was short-lived, as he only played two games for the Dust Devils before being promoted to High-A. In Tevor Story’s second stint with High-A Modesto, he put together his best performance at any stop. In 50 games with High-A, he hit five home runs, drove in 20 RBI, recorded 20 stolen bases, and scored 38 runs. Also, he posted the best slash line of his career, .332/.436/.582.
Trevor Story impressed the Colorado Rockies in his second stint with the Modesto Nuts, and the Rockies decided to promote Story a second time in 2014, this time to Double-A Tulsa. Story finished the 2014 season with the Tulsa Drillers, but he struggled mightily at this stop. In 56 games with Tulsa, Story hit just .200, and he struck out over 34 percent of the time, due to his aggressive approach at the plate. He managed to hit nine home runs, but his peripheral stats took a hit. Also, he only stole only three bags with Tulsa. Story’s first year at Double-A was a wake-up call for the highly-touted shortstop.
Due to Story’s struggles at the Double-A level in 2014, the Rockies believed that he needed to open the 2015 season at the same level. Trevor Story cut down on his strike out rate from the end of 2014 to the beginning of 2015, falling from 34 percent to 24 percent. Also, Story managed to maintain his power stroke, belting 14 home runs while registering 40 RBI. Moreover, Story regained his presence on the base paths, stealing 15 bases for Tulsa. After the first 69 games of Tulsa’s season, the Rockies promoted Trevor Story to Triple-A, his last stop before the MLB.
With a .281/.373/.523 slash line at Tulsa, Trevor Story greatly improved his offensive woes that he demonstrated at the end of 2014, and the Rockies believed he was ready to take on the task at Triple-A. Story finished the 2015 season as a member of the Albuquerque Isotopes, playing in 61 games for the team. Despite the promotion, Story continued to hit well. He produced nearly identical stats for Albuquerque as he did for Tulsa. Story finished the 2015 season, split between two leagues, with 20 home runs and 80 RBI. Also, he owned a .279/.350/.514 slash line and stole 22 bags.
House That Hank Built
While Trevor Story tore up the Rockies’ farm system in 2015, Troy Tulowitzki struggled with the Rockies. The Rockies, ultimately, decided to cut ties with their superstar shortstop, and they dealt him to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Rockies received a trio of prospects (Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro, and Jesus Tinoco), along with veteran shortstop Jose Reyes. Jose Reyes finished out the 2015 season as the Rockies’ regular shortstop, but the Rockies will likely shop Reyes this offseason.
With Story’s impressive 2015 campaign, many believe this expedited the departure of Troy Tulowitzki. Story resembles a young Tulowitzki – a powerful shortstop who flashes above-average defense. However, Tulowitzki was a perennial All-Star, and Trevor Story remains a question mark at the MLB level. 2016 marks Story’s age-23 season, and he likely opens the 2016 season with the Colorado Rockies or Albuquerque Isotopes. With Jose Reyes still a member of the Rockies, they need to decide what to do with the veteran shortstop before deciding Story’s fate.
Trevor Story looks ready for big-league competition, and if the Rockies decide to hold on to Jose Reyes for another season, Story presents a more-than-capable utility option off the bench. Story played shortstop, second base, and third base while in the minor leagues, so he may have a regular role despite being a utility player. The Rockies want Story to work on his aggressiveness at the plate to help cut down on his strike out rate. If Trevor Story can decrease his strike out rate while improving his walk rate, he looks to be a key figure in the Rockies’ lineup moving forward.
Jose Reyes brings no real value to the Rockies in 2016. His contract is worse than Troy Tulowitzki’s, and his declining defense presents a problem for the team. Many teams need an offensive-minded shortstop like Reyes, so the Rockies likely trade him before the start of the 2016 season. As we get closer to Spring Training, the shortstop situation should work itself out, but Trevor Story is the shortstop of the future (along with Brendan Rodgers). Keep an eye on Story’s situation this offseason, because he is one of the Rockies’ prospects closet to a promotion.