Over at Fangraphs this morning, Jeff Sullivan writes up Colorado Rockies shortstop prospect Trevor Story, pointing out that Story is likely to see considerable action in the majors this year. Sullivan discusses Story's package of skills, as well as his tendency to pull the ball for power and very strong ability to put the ball into the air.
Sullivan looks at Story's spray charts and notes that while he tends to pull the ball for power, he isn't exclusive about it and will go the opposite way at times.
Sullivan goes on to discuss Story's problems with contact but notes that they have significantly improved over the last couple of years. Further, Story is an extreme fly ball hitter.
Last year, out of everyone who batted at least 100 times in Story’s Double-A league, he finished with the single lowest ground-ball rate, and by several points. And then, out of everyone who batted at least 100 times in Story’s Triple-A league, he finished with the sixth-lowest ground-ball rate. That’s sixth out of 261, and first out of 208. The numbers are undeniable, and they agree with Dan Farnsworth’s evaluation that Story pretty clearly has a fly-ball swing path.
From watching him play I knew that Story hit the ball in the air a lot, but I didn't realize the tendency was that extreme. Obviously this is a good thing for someone who will be playing in Colorado.
As Sullivan notes:
Coors Field does a couple things. It rather dramatically cuts down on strikeouts, and it dramatically rewards air balls in play. Story should be able to take full advantage of his future home environment, and while that wouldn’t make him a better player in other ballparks, this is a place that could make him look his best. He’ll hit his home runs, and he’ll be fooled by fewer quality breaking balls.
I think Jeff builds a great case here. But the objective projection systems don't seem to agree. ZIPS projects Story at .244/.308/.411, wRC+ 86. Steamer is similar at .249/.307/.416. Clay Davenport has him at .233/.299/.409.
What do you think? Let's say Story plays regularly most of the season.Would he produce uninspired numbers like the projection systems say, or would the Coors Field environment magnify his strengths while mitigating his weaknesses, as Sullivan discusses, enabling Story to exceed expectations?
My personal opinion is that Sullivan is right. What do you think?