Coming off a strong week where he hit for the cycle, shortstop Trevor Story is lighting up the California League to start this season. The hot start is in stark contrast to how he began the 2013 season when he hit .150 for the month of April. This month Trevor is already ahead of the pace, through seven games the Texas native is hitting .387 with six extra-base hits and a 196 wRC+.
The question, is if the 21-year-old has matured this season and is ready to overcome the issues that held him back last season.
Trevor was drafted out of high school by the Rockies in the the first round of the 2011 draft. A strong showing in Low-A Asheville helped propel Story to a top prospect status, where he earned Top 100 honors and ranked as high as No. 34 overall by Baseball Prospectus.
Early returns indicate Story may be turning his game around and the hot start shouldn't be discounted. A deeper look at his stats however, indicates there are still underlying issues that may hold him back as his hot streak dissipates.
His biggest nemesis have always been strikeouts, Story was one of the minor league leaders in strikeouts with 183 whiffs in 2013. Last season he struck out at a 33% rate and this year he's been even worse at 36%. He's walking at about the same rate, so the only difference is that the shortstop is making better contact early in the 2014 season.
A week into the season is way too early to determine the trajectory of a player, but his overall numbers indicate Story is causing more damage when he makes contact with the ball. On the other side of the coin, he's missing at a greater rate than ever before, so it would be smart to view his hot start with a grain of salt.
Winkler's near no-hitter
Rockies fans are going to hear a lot about Tulsa's rotation this coming season. The group of starters is loaded with No. 1 draft picks including: Jon Gray, Tyler Anderson and Eddie Butler. Even though all three played in the California League last season, Dan Winkler is doing his best to remind people why he won the CAL Pitcher of the Year award.
On Thursday, Winkler pitched a no-hitter through six innings before ultimately being pulled and earning a hard-luck loss. In the seventh, the righthander walked a batter and gave up his first hit of the game before being pulled for a reliever. Carlos Hernandez came on in relief and promptly marred Winkler's day, by allowing both inherited runners to score. Dan Winkler finished with a line of six innings pitched, one hit and two earned runs on the night.
"Once I got out there, it was more just sticking with my mechanics and taking it pitch by pitch and trusting my catcher [Tom Murphy]," Winkler told MiLB.com. "Once I did that, instead of thinking about hitters and things like that, I started to settle down."
Dan is accustomed to throwing no-hit ball and last season produced three games where he allowed just a single hit. On June 24th he combined with Nelson Gonzalez and Scott Oberg, with a big assist to centerfielder David Kandilas, for a combined no-hitter. For the season, Winkler sports a 1.59 ERA through 11 innings pitched, eight strikeouts and four walks.
Rockies MiLB video highlights
Tom Murphy launches a home run to deep left field for Tulsa in Monday's game.
Tyler Anderson’s throws five innings of one-hit ball, allowing one run while striking out six and other highlights from Tulsa's game this past Sunday.
Dan Winkler caps off his sixth no-hit inning with a worm-killer to end the frame.