PuRP No. 7: Trevor Story (890 points, 37 ballots) | Winter 2014 Ranking: 8 | High Ballot 2, Mode Ballot 7
This is the year in which Trevor Story announced himself as a big-time prospect. Sure, Story had been ranked as the top prospect in the rookie level Pioneer League by Baseball America after 2011 and was rated on top 100 lists by various publications prior to 2013, but this year has been the first season the 22 year-old shortstop has shown he can hit well against high level pitching.
After hitting very well in his first two professional seasons, Story struggled to an extent in 2013 with High-A Modesto, and then again last year with Double-A Tulsa. To be sure, a 83 wRC+ in High-A at 20 and a 98 wRC+ in Double-A at 21 is only a minor cause for concern, but nonetheless it has been great to see Story figure out higher level pitching after a little bit of time.
This year in Double-A New Britain, Story hit .281/.373/.523 (155 wRC+) with 36 extra base hits in 300 plate appearances against pitchers that are on average 2.5 years older than him, earning a promotion to the Triple-A Isotopes in July. Since his promotion, Story has shown the pop that makes him a rarity for a shortstop prospect. His .273/.305/.521 line (114 wRC+) with 25 extra base hits in just 174 plate appearances in Triple-A has provided a modicum of solace for Rockies fans despondent over the loss of their major league shortstop mainstay. Oh yeah: he was also selected for the USA roster in the 2015 Futures Game, going 1-2 with a RBI double.
Story's recent performance thus far wasn't enough for MLB.com to put him on their top 100 midseason list, though he did rate 12th on Colorado's farm:
Story has the best bat speed in the Rockies system, which helps him deliver solid pop. His power tool is greater than his hit tool right now, but he has started to make changes to his approach, cutting down on his aggressiveness at the plate some, giving him the chance to be an average hitter as well. Story will continue to see most of his time defensively at shortstop, where he shows flashes of solid skills but needs to work on his consistency. He's played a good amount of third, and he started mixing in some second base in Double-A and in the AFL. He will get playing time at all three spots moving forward.
Story's versatility should help him to get to the big leagues. At the very least, he could be a very valuable offensive-minded utilityman in the future.
Another scouting report from Baseball Prospectus's Al Skorupa on Story labeled him as a second division MLB shortstop (50 OFP).
Scouts have indicated that Story's a potential five-tool shortstop at the major league level (though most of that talk occurred at lower levels), and Story has certainly shown flashes of that potential. Story's low Triple-A walk rate (4%) is concerning, as is his minor league career 27% strikeout rate, but Story's 2015 has shown that he intends to take the major league shortstop role by the horns.
I ranked Story eighth on my list as an average defender at short with the potential to provide power and speed offensively and who is near to the big leagues. Story will be Rule 5 eligible after 2015, but he's a near lock to be protected. I'd expect him to get a call-up early in 2016, though when that occurs is somewhat dependent on the status of Jose Reyes.
Contract Status: 2011 supplemental first round, Rule 5 eligible after 2015, three options remaining
MLB ETA: 2016