Trevor Story bounced back from a poor 2013 season to post a healthy .263/.367/.475 line with 42 extra-base hits across three minor league stops in 2014. More importantly, Story reestablished himself as a legitimate position player prospect in the Colorado Rockies' system.
The 21-year-old native of Texas has recently shifted his focus to learning the ins and outs of second and third base, a development that will most likely land him a job with the big league club sometime in the next year or two as a Clint Barmes-type -- a guy who can play multiple positions and provide significant pop at the plate. Of course, with a first-round pedigree, Story could become more than that. But either way, he'll almost certainly make an impact for the Rockies as they attempt to transition from pretenders to contenders in the coming years.
Story recently talked about his 2014 season, his positional adjustments and more with Jen Mac Ramos in an exclusive interview for Purple Row. Some of Jen's great work can be seen at Beyond the Box Score, The Hardball Times and Techgraphs.
Jen Mac Ramos: You performed really well at Modesto this year after struggling there in 2013. What adjustments were you able to make to get back on track?
Trevor Story: It was really getting back to what I've always done as a hitter, offensively, in high school and really getting back to my roots as a hitter. Really just being more disciplined at the plate, and not swinging at bad pitches.
JMR: Though your overall production at the plate suffered a bit, you still hit for good power and definitely held your own at Double-A. What was that jump like?
Story: It was tough at first. It's a totally different game, the pitchers attack you, and it took a little adjustment, [but] I feel like I know what it's going to take to succeed at the level, and I'm excited to show that here in this league.
JMR: Have the Rockies given you any sort of instructions for how to approach your at-bats or defensive play in the Arizona Fall League?
Story: Kinda like I said, we're trying to just get back to what I've done my whole life, and me and Riggsy [Kevin Riggs, Colorado's Double-A manager] are getting back in the cage, and he's talking the mental aspect of it, also with the physical and really just trying to bring how I finished the year into this league, and succeed like I know I can.
JMR: Assuming you've had personal dealings with new Rockies GM Jeff Bidrich, while he was director of player development, what do you think he brings to the table in this new gig?
Story: Oh, he's great. I've known Jeff for three and a half, four years since I've been here with the Rockies, and I think he's definitely suitable for the job. He's a great leader and he's a great guy to have in the position to try to turn it around for the Rockies and get back to where we want to be.
JMR: The Rockies have a star-level shortstop [Troy Tulowitzki], so have they discussed a potential position change with you, like they appear to be doing with fellow top shortstop prospect Rosell Herrera?
Story: Yeah, a little bit. I've always played shortstop my whole life. I'm continuing to play shortstop, but y'know, we're realistic in knowing that Tulo is playing short right now and he's probably the best in the game at it, so yeah. I'm playing a little bit of second base, a little bit of third, so definitely trying out some new positions.
JMR: And how has the change been like, playing second and third compared to short?
Story: Um, third base is, well ... both of them are a lot different than shortstop, just the angles and how the ball comes off the bat. It's a lot different. Second is probably the most difficult for me right now, just because it's on the other side of the field and I'm not used to how the ball comes off the bat during the game, but it's definitely getting a lot better, and it's something that's going to be big in my development.
JMR: Is that something that they're working on here in the AFL?
Story: For sure, yeah. Really never played second base in an actual game until the last couple of games in Tulsa, but I've played a game here at second base, and that's the plan, to play some more games at second, and third and short as well.
JMR: And along the same lines as the change in position, has the organization spoken with you about a plan for next season, such as where you'll start, guidelines for moving up, etc?
Story: No, typically [players] don't talk to front office guys about that kind of thing. You just kinda hope to be somewhere, even if you don't go there you just gotta put in your work every day and not worry about where you're going to be. Put in the work for that day and things will take care of [themselves].