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Rockies 2014 minor league review: Modesto hitters led by Trevor Story

The best hitters only played half a season in Modesto, which might explain their place in the standings.

Trevor Story bounced back in his second try at Modesto.
Trevor Story bounced back in his second try at Modesto.
Charlie Drysdale

The Modesto Nuts' 97-loss season this year was the worst season in the California League since the San Jose Bees lost 109 games in 1987. A major contributor in this ignoble season was the lack of offense to come out of Modesto. Part of it could be attributed to injuries, such as the bad wrist that made a mockery of Rosell Herrera's year. A major part of the problem was that Rockies players simply stumbled once they faced the advanced pitching of High-A ball.

The players who did perform, were only available in half a season. As Trevor Story was promoted just after the all-star break and David Dahl battled an injury that kept him in Asheville until July. This is a list of the top performers for the Modesto Nuts this season, although every one of them wore a Nuts jersey for just a short amount of time.

Trevor Story - .332/.436/.582, 5 HR, 20 SB, 164 wRC+

Shortstop, 1st round 2011 draft

Rebounding from a nightmare season in 2013, Trevor Story provided an impressive campaign with his repeat performance in High-A Modesto. The Texas native improved nearly one hundred points on his batting average over the year and performed well enough to be named to the California league's mid-season All-Star team.

Part of Trevor's success can be attributed to his reduction in strikeouts, considered an Achilles heel of the young infielder, his improvement saw a decline from 33% to 27%. His season was one of the top five offensive performances in the league, and was bolstered with 20 stolen bases in just 50 games.

Listed at 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds, Story is similar in stature to Josh Rutledge, but displays a stronger arm, with more home run potential. Considered nearly two years younger than the average High-A player, the 21-year-old was out of action for nearly three weeks due to a broken finger which required surgery to repair. Despite the missed time, Trevor's success in Modesto prompted a mid-season promotion to Double-A Tulsa, where he'll most likely continue at that level in New Britain next season. Story has incredible potential at a premium position, but needs to prove he can overcome his contact issues and combine his power numbers with a strong batting average.

Michael Tauchman - .294/.386/.452, 4 HR, 9 SB, 121 wRC+

Outfield, 10th round 2013 draft

Battling a hamstring injury for the first half of the season, Michael Tauchman didn't appear in a Modesto uniform until nearly July. But the left-handed hitter quickly regained his swing and showed off a solid hit tool reinforcing his two-level jump from Short-season Tri City to High-A Modesto in just one year.

Drafted out of Bradley in the tenth round of the 2013 draft, Tauchman led all Division I baseball with a .425 average. Primarily a gap hitter, Tauchman's excels at working the count to get on base, while also limiting his strikeouts. Tauchman is likely to be promoted to Double-A New Britain next season in order to clear room for the talented crop of outfielders moving up from Asheville.

David Dahl - .267/.296/.467, 4 HR, 3 SB, 93 wRC+

Centerfield, 1st round 2012 draft

Rebounding from a disastrous 2013, David Dahl earned a mid-season promotion to High-A Modesto, where he put up solid numbers that reinforced his place at the top of the Rockies offensive prospects list. Modesto can be a tough park to hit home runs, as demonstrated by Nolan Arenado in 2011, when he hit just six of his 20 home runs at home. Dahl had similar issues in Modesto where he had 14 extra bases hits in just 29 games, but launched three of his four home runs on the road.

Dahl's power display was impressive considering the Alabama native suffered from an injured wrist throughout the season. Who knows what could have happened with a clear bill of health, but injury concerns are something to keep an eye on with the left-handed hitter, as he also missed much of last season with a hamstring injury.

Showcased primarily in centerfield, Dahl was lauded for his defensive prowess throughout the season. Demonstrating good instincts and a strong arm, Dahl finished the year with 14 outfield assists between Asheville and Modesto.

The Rockies No. 10 overall pick in the first round of the 2012 draft, David will be just 21-years-old at the start of next season. This year he was nearly three years younger than the average High-A player, and it's likely we'll see him return to Modesto with a chance for a quick promotion to Double-A. Fast and with a strong build, Dahl isn't that far away from making the big jump to Coors Field. This next year could be an exciting season for the left-handed hitter.