The first chapter in the tale of Trevor Story was a great one with an all-too-sudden ending. It was full of everything we look for in a good plot line: a good-looking young star who captures our hearts, struggles enough to make us doubt that he can save the day only to do it again and again. Unfortunately, the first chapter is over and we were left wanting more. What we got was ... less than ideal.
Since Story’s untimely injury, the Rockies have been trotting out the duo of Daniel Descalso and Cristhian Adames and the drop-off is significant. Through the first three months, Rockies shortstops ranked in the top 10 of all major league teams in WAR, posting 0.6 in April, 0.8 in May and 0.9 in June. Rockies shortstops ranked seventh, eighth, and ninth, respectively in those months with Story leading the way.
There was a slight dip in WAR in July with the All-Star break, but the team was still in the middle of the pack with a 0.4 WAR at the position, good for 18th in the majors. Story had a 0.9 WAR that month, but the position was severely hampered by Adames’ -0.5 WAR in only 37 plate appearances, an impressive feat to say the least. Unfortunately, Story’s contribution to the shortstop statistics ended on July 30, leading us to a poor month of August.
In that month, the Rockies’ shortstops were a paltry 25th with a WAR of -0.2. Descalso produced a saddening .200/.319/.347 slash line across three positions and Adames—though improved from his earlier numbers—wasn’t much better with a .281/.359/.351 line. It’s never a good sign for a major leaguer to have a slugging percentage below his on-base percentage, especially when the OBP is as middling as Adames’ is. After Story’s .288/.367/.625 line in July, it was a major drop-off in production.
In the early third of September, Rockies shortstops have been better. They’ve produced 0.3 WAR so far, good for 13th overall. Both Adames and Descalso have seen mini-power surges, producing respective slugging percentages of .667 and a .529, which is significantly better than their August production. Granted, that’s through a collective 46 plate appearances and would definitely be classified as a hot streak instead of improvement. Hell, Adames produced a negative wRC+ in July at -44, something I didn’t know was possible until today, so I’m not convinced by his improved slugging.
It’s unclear whether there was a defensive drop-off in Story’s absence. Over the course of the season, Story has produced 1.4 defensive WAR while Adames and Descalso have a -0.7 and a -0.5 WAR, respectively. Even MLB.com’s Range Factor has Story at virtually a full point higher than the other two on the season. Like all defensive statistics, however, those can be faulty and different measurements favor different players, as Fangraphs’ UZR/150 has Story at -5.0, Adames at -4.3, and Descalso at -3.5.
The offensive void is clear without Story in the lineup. Even with other top rookies David Dahl and Raimel Tapia performing at a high level in their first tastes of the major leagues, there’s very little production coming from the shortstop position. Makes you really miss the Story puns, huh?