Welcome to the 2020 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back at every player to log playing time for the Rockies in 2020. The purpose of this list is to provide a snapshot of the player in context. The “Ranking” is an organizing principle that’s drawn from Baseball Reference’s WAR (rWAR). It’s not something the staff debated. We’ll begin with the player with the lowest rWAR and end up with the player with the highest.
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No. 3, Trevor Story: 2.1 rWAR
With just three days left in our Ranking the Rockies series, we’ve come to the team’s top position player of 2020, Trevor Story. In his fifth year with the Rockies, Story continued to establish himself as one of the best shortstops in all of baseball, despite continuing to fly under the radar on the national scene. That was exhibited most recently with his absence from the list of Gold Glove finalists in the National League.
On the offensive side of things, Story led the Rockies in homers, triples and doubles. He was second in RBI behind only Charlie Blackmon. Add that to his team leads in slugging percentage (.519), OPS (.874) and runs (41), and it’s safe to say that Trevor was the best hitter on the club. Story’s .289 batting average was solidly above his career mark of .277 and just .005 points behind his career high set in 2019. Story also cut down on his strikeouts this year, bringing his per game strikeout rate down to 1.06 after a 1.20 mark in 2019.
As if his work at the plate wasn’t enough, Trevor put forth the best season of his career on the base paths and played above-average defense. Story led the NL in stolen bases with 15, good for third in MLB. It would translate to a career-high of 41 over a 162-game season. (His previous season best was 27.) Defensively, Story was one of the best in the league at the shortstop position. He led the NL with a Runs Above Average of 6.3, more than double the total of second place Fernando Tatís Jr. (3.1).
All of Story’s numbers point to his continued development as a staple in the Rockies lineup for years to come, but his impending status as a free agent at the end of the 2021 season makes things tricky. After a tough 2020 for the club as a whole, the possibility of tearing it all down and going through a complete rebuild isn’t out of the question. If the team went that route, Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado are two obvious trade pieces.
After the coronavirus pandemic ravaged a chunk of the MLB season and decimated revenues across the league, Arenado’s viability as an option for other teams decreased substantially. Add in the fact that Nolan had a down year at the plate and ended the season battling an injury, and suddenly Story looks like he may be the team’s most likely to depart in exchange for a boost to the farm system.
Of course, this is purely speculation. The winter ahead will be a long one, as the club evaluates what they have and makes a plan for the future. For the time being, Trevor Story remains a member of the Rockies, something we as fans are very grateful for. Let’s hope it stays that way for the rest of his career.