Tag: Colorado Rockies

What’s Next for Jose Reyes, Rockies Following MLB’s 52-Game Suspension?

The MLB announcement Friday said Jose Reyes can come back to the major leagues on June 1.

Too bad it’s not June 1, 2011.

Reyes had real value then, as a .335 hitter and a speedy shortstop who was one of the game’s most exciting players. Five years on, he’s no longer speedy or exciting, a decline that started before the domestic-violence incident that led to the 52-game suspension that will run out at the end of May.

Oh, and he has a contract that will pay him another $22 million in 2017 and includes a $4 million buyout option for 2018. 

He’s property of the Colorado Rockies for now, but in rookie Trevor Story, they have a shortstop they actually like. Word is they have no use for Reyes, and that they didn’t even before he was arrested last October for allegedly assaulting his wife in a Hawaii hotel room.

As ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark tweeted after the suspension was announced:

The Rockies took on Reyes last July, only because it enabled them to save about $50 million of what they owed Troy Tulowitzki and add much-needed pitching prospects in the process. The Toronto Blue Jays were happy to move Reyes, whose offense had become nearly nonexistent and whose defense was worse.

Reyes had little value then, at age 32. He has even less value now, as he approaches his 33rd birthday on June 11.

ESPN.com’s Buster Olney tweeted Friday morning that there were teams “interested” in dealing for Reyes, although he later clarified that by saying the Rockies would need to eat much of the money left on the contract.

Fair enough. Anyone can be traded, if you structure the deal right. If the Rockies eat much of the money and include a prospect or a draft pick, perhaps a rebuilding team like the Atlanta Braves would bite.

The Braves have big-time shortstop prospects, but their stopgap solution of using Erick Aybar at the position this year has been a disaster. The Braves’ combined OPS from the shortstop position (.429) is nearly 100 points lower than the next-worst team, per FanGraphs.

As for the other teams struggling for offense at shortstop, the Los Angeles Angels expect Andrelton Simmons to come back (and just added Brendan Ryan as a stopgap), and the Miami Marlins and Detroit Tigers both have defense-first shortstops they like (Adeiny Hechavarria and Jose Iglesias).

Reyes wouldn’t be an improvement, just as he wouldn’t be an improvement over Story, who has 11 home runs and three triples and is one of the early leaders in the National League Rookie of the Year race.

If he’s cheap enough, Reyes might have some value as a utility guy, but do you want him in your clubhouse if he’s not playing regularly?

The Rockies haven’t had to deal with Reyes so far this year, because baseball put him on paid leave while investigating the domestic-violence incident. In a statement released Friday announcing the 52-game suspension, Commissioner Rob Manfred said the investigation took this long because of criminal charges in Hawaii, which were later dismissed when Reyes’ wife declined to cooperate.

In Friday’s announcement, MLB made Reyes’ unpaid suspension retroactive to Feb. 23, meaning he’ll have to repay the salary he has already received this season. In all, he’ll lose just over $7 million of the $22 million he was due in 2016.

Manfred’s statement said Reyes has committed to treatment and also to contribute $100,000 to one or more charitable organizations focused on preventing and treating survivors of domestic violence.

Reyes also released a statement Friday that said he wanted to “apologize for everything that has happened.” He showed more contrition than Aroldis Chapman, who has continued to maintain he did nothing wrong in the domestic-violence incident that led to his own 30-game suspension, per Billy Witz of the New York Times.

Chapman, despite the incident, has been welcomed with open arms by the New York Yankees and by Yankee fans. A few 100 mph fastballs were all it took.

Reyes can’t throw 100 mph, nor can he hit or run like he used to when he was a star with the New York Mets. If he could, the Rockies would have no problem finding a taker.

Reyes isn’t that player anymore. I’m not the biggest fan of WAR as a way to evaluate players, but it’s hard to argue with the Baseball-Reference.com WAR numbers for Reyes.

He peaked at 5.8 in 2006 (second to Carlos Guillen among full-time shortstops). He put up a 4.7 in 2011 (third behind Tulowitzki and Asdrubal Cabrera).

And last year? He was at 0.3. After the midseason trade to the Rockies, he was minus-0.2.

Under the terms of his suspension, Reyes can now start working out in extended spring training, and beginning June 1, he can join a minor league team for a rehabilitation assignment. Perhaps he can prove that he still has value.

The Rockies can only hope he does.

 

Danny Knobler covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report.

Follow Danny on Twitter and talk baseball.

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Jose Reyes Suspended by MLB: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

Major League Baseball has suspended Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes without pay through May 31 after he was ordered to stand trial on domestic abuse charges, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Yahoo Sports’ Big League Stew provided the league’s official statement Friday, which confirmed the unpaid suspension is retroactive to Feb. 23:

Reyes also released a statement shortly after MLB‘s announcement, according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal:

Commissioner Rob Manfred previously placed Reyes on paid leave after the 32-year-old allegedly assaulted his wife in a Hawaii hotel room, according to Hawaii News Now’s Chelsea Davis, but he’ll officially lose $7.06 million in game checks now that terms of the cumulative 52-game suspension are official, per Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan.

“His wife told responding officers that Reyes grabbed her off the bed and shoved her,” Davis reported. “Sources say she also told police that he grabbed her throat and shoved her into the sliding glass balcony door.”

According to ESPN.com, Reyes posted $1,000 bail and was ordered to stay away from his wife for three days following the incident.

However, charges against the shortstop were dropped after his wife failed to cooperate with prosecutors, according to the Associated Press. Should she change her mind and decide to cooperate within the next two years, charges can be refiled.

In baseball terms, Reyes is becoming an afterthought for the Rockies.

Rookie Trevor Story has been a revelation, batting .266 with 11 home runs and 27 RBI. He’s also clubbed three triples and seven doubles during his rapid rise in the Rockies’ order, earning National League Rookie of the Month honors in April.

Beyond Story’s development into an offensive linchpin for the Rockies, Reyes is staring at a long road back from a polish perspective.

“He has been working out on his own in New York, away from the Rockies’ facilities in Colorado and Arizona, but even if he returned tomorrow, Reyes would still likely need weeks to ready himself for major league games,” the Denver Post‘s Nick Groke wrote. “He missed all of spring training and any live competition since last fall.”

And then there’s the matter of the Rockies’ monetary commitment to Reyes. The veteran shortstop is earning $22 million this season—part of which the team will recoup following the suspension, per Groke—and another $22 million next season before the team can decline his $22 million club option for 2018.

With Story established as the franchise’s future shortstop and Reyes a past-his-prime piece who figures to have a hard time garnering regular playing time, the Rockies could be in a bind when it comes to relieving themselves of a hefty financial burden.

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Jose Reyes Reportedly to Be Suspended 60-80 Games for Alleged Offseason Incident

Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes is reportedly expected to learn his punishment soon after facing domestic violence allegations from October, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

Heyman noted the suspension is expected to be at least 60 games, but it may end up being closer to 80 games, “or about a half a season.”

Reyes was arrested in Maui on Oct. 31 after reportedly getting into a physical altercation with his wife in the hotel room they were staying at. Chelsea Davis of Hawaii News Now reported Reyes grabbed his wife by the throat and shoved her into a sliding glass door. 

While the former All-Star wasn’t criminally charged, Heyman reported MLB is expected to hand down a ban in the next few days and sees the incident in Maui as more serious than the alleged domestic violence incident involving New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman in December:

Reyes’ offense has been seen as more serious, as hotel workers at their Maui hotel reported that Reyes’ wife Katherine suffered injuries to her neck, wrist and thigh. Katherine did not cooperate with police, leading to charges being dropped. Nor has she cooperated with MLB.

Commissioner Rob Manfred has authority to impose bans for domestic abuse stemming from the policy done jointly with the players’ union.

Reyes’ ban is expected to be announced in coming days. It isn’t known whether MLB and the union have agreed on a specific length, or if Manfred might impose a penalty and let the union decide whether to challenge the length. Reyes and the union could grieve any ban imposed by Manfred, though in the case of Chapman, 30 games was agreed upon.

The Rockies are Reyes’ third team since he signed a six-year, $106 million deal with the Miami Marlins in December 2011. Miami sent him to the Toronto Blue Jays in November 2012, and then the Blue Jays shipped him to Colorado last year in the trade centered around All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.

Colorado has been able to withstand Reyes’ absence with the emergence of rookie shortstop Trevor Story. The 23-year-old shortstop is batting .272 and has hit 11 home runs so far for the near-.500 Rockies.

Even if Reyes is out for a lengthy period of time, Colorado has its shortstop of the future. If the Rockies don’t move Reyes, they’ll still have to pay the remainder of his contract, which includes $22 million in 2017.

While voiding contracts isn’t a normal occurrence, there have been instances where teams have gotten financial relief in return. That could be something to keep an eye on with Reyes and the Rockies.

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Rockies Set Franchise Record with 13 Runs in 1 Inning

The Colorado Rockies set a franchise record for runs scored in an inning when they plated 13 during the fifth frame of Thursday’s 17-7 win over the San Francisco Giants, per ESPN Stats & Info.

The offensive barrage began when Rockies shortstop Trevor Story launched a two-strike, hanging slider from Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain over the left field wall.

Sprinkle in a couple of bloops and a few liners to the gap, and suddenly Colorado owned a 17-3 lead. In the top of the fifth inning alone, the Rockies tallied 10 hits and knocked both Cain and Giants relief pitcher Vin Mazzaro out of the game.

Not only did the Rockies set a franchise record with their offensive eruption, but they also became the first team since the 1890 Chicago Colts to score 13 runs in the fifth inning of a National League game, per Sportsnet Stats.

Of course, while new records such as the one set on Thursday are nice, the most significant franchise first would be an NL West division title.

Thursday’s win improved the Rockies to 14-14, pushing them into a three-way tie for first place with the Giants (15-15) and Los Angeles Dodgers (14-14)—two of the preseason favorites to win the NL.

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Story Finishes April with 17 Extra-Base Hits, Including 10 Home Runs

Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story finished April with 17 extra-base hits, joining Joe DiMaggio (23 in May 1936) and Albert Pujols (17 in April 2001) as the only players since 1900 to record 17 or more extra-base hits during the first calendar month of their respective careers, per Elias Sports Bureau (via ESPN.com).

One of the biggest surprises early in the season, the 23-year-old Story was never viewed as a top-notch prospect, and he might not have even made the big-league roster out of spring training if not for Jose Reyes’ absence in the wake of a domestic violence allegation.

Nonetheless, Story made history by hitting seven home runs in the first six games of his career, with six of those long balls coming in the first four games.

He’s slowed down considerably since the season’s first week, yet still managed to break Pujols’ National League record of eight home runs by a rookie in April.

What’s more, Story tied the MLB rookie record of 10 home runs in April, which was originally set by Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu in 2014.

It seems Story has emerged from a mid-April slump, as he tallied two homers, a triple and a double—along with six RBI, four runs and two walks—over the final three games of the month.

Of course, it remains to be seen whether he’s the second coming of former Troy Tulowitzki or merely a short-lived rookie sensation.

Story’s 37 strikeouts in 92 at-bats might hint at the latter, but there’s still no denying that he possesses rare power for a middle infielder.

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Story Breaks Pujols’ NL Rookie Record for Home Runs in April

Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story hit his ninth home run of the season during Wednesday’s 9-8 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, breaking Albert Pujols’ National League record—set in 2001—for most home runs by a rookie in April, per MLB Stat of the Day.

One of the better stories from the season’s first month, Colorado’s 23-year-old shortstop hit a solo home run off Pirates pitcher Jon Niese in the fourth inning of Wednesday’s game, providing the first run in an impressive rally from an early 7-0 deficit.

The Rockies eventually tied the game at 8-8 to force extra innings, but the Pirates ultimately emerged victorious thanks to a 12th-inning RBI double from shortstop Jordy Mercer.

Story finished the game with just the one hit in six at-bats, dropping his batting average to .241, which is the lowest it’s been since his second at-bat of the season.

While the nine home runs in combination with a .651 slugging percentage obviously make up for his poor batting average and on-base percentage (.304), Story has mostly struggled at the plate since memorably hitting seven homers in the first six games of his career.

He had just two long balls and 11 hits in 56 at-bats (.196 average) over the subsequent 14 games, with a plethora of strikeouts—34 in 83 at-bats this season—inevitably taking their toll.

Of course, even with the recent slump, Story finds himself just one home run shy of matching Jose Abreu’s MLB rookie record of 10 in April (2014), per ESPN Stats & Info.

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Carlos Gonzalez Becoming a Troy Tulowitzki 2.0 Situation for Rockies

The Colorado Rockies are quickly becoming baseball’s version of Pop, a TV channel that plays reruns of old teen dramas such as The OC, Dawson’s Creek and Beverly Hills, 90210.

The situation percolating with outfielder Carlos Gonzalez is another version of the Troy Tulowitzki saga from a season ago. We’ve seen this episode before. The latter isn’t too far from our minds. In fact, during spring training, the former Colorado shortstop continued to vent on last season’s midseason trade to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Tulowitzki dished on his former team in a February interview with Bob Nightengale of USA Today that rivaled Kelly Ripa’s recent hissy fit. Essentially, he feels the Rockies lied to him. Though he’s offered his opinion more gently, Gonzalez seems tired of the losing and the lack of talent around him.

“I’ve been in this business a long time, and it’s never about what the player wants,” Gonzalez told Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post. “I mean, I want Mike Trout and Bryce Harper on my team, but you don’t get what you want.”

But while the Gonzalez situation has the potential to mirror Tulowitzki’s off-field drama, the two already mirror one another on the field.

When the Rockies traded Tulowitzki, he was hitting .300/.348/.471. At 30 years old, he was still young enough to have an impact, even in the context of a three- to four-year rebuild.

Similarly, Gonzalez, 30, is hitting .321/.368/.556 with four home runs and 12 RBI through 21 games this season. But, as they did with Tulowitzki, the Rockies have to weigh the value of trading him.

Gonzalez will make $17 million this season and $20 million in 2017, after which he will become a free agent, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts. Unloading that salary would give the Rockies money to play with in free agency this offseason.

He also has a checkered injury history, as he’s struggled with knee issues. In 2014, Gonzalez was shut down for the season in August so he could have surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip. Though last season he played in a career-high 153 games, injuries stymied Gonzalez through significant parts of the previous four seasons.

Despite reason to question his long-term health, Gonzalez’s short-term value and recent play could be attractive to a contending team in need of a bat.

The left-handed hitter has played at least 200 games in each of the outfield positions. So most teams in need of offense could find a place for the 2015 Silver Slugger Award winner. For those thinking teams might devalue his performance this season playing in hitter-friendly Coors Field, Gonzalez is hitting .288/.327/.500 in 12 games at home and .343/.395/.571 through nine away games.

A haul of notable prospects could come in a potential bidding war.

On the MLB trade market, for a team looking to get younger, a star player often is less than the sum of his parts. The Tulowitzki trade, which included pitcher LaTroy Hawkins, netted the Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes and right-handed pitcher Jeff Hoffman, ranked as the No. 49 prospect in baseball by MLB.com. The deal also sent lesser-known pitching prospects Jesus Tinoco and Miguel Castro to the Rockies.

Of course, that all makes shopping Gonzalez seem like a slam dunk.

But, as in the case with Tulowitzki, his age allows for the possibility that Gonzalez could contribute when this team’s load of talented minor league prospects hits the majors. According to Baseball America, Colorado has the No. 6 farm system in baseball.

According to MLB.com, outfielder David Dahl (ranked No. 43 by the site) and third baseman Ryan McMahon (No. 45) are due to make their MLB debuts next season. Pitcher Jon Gray (No. 30) has already been promoted to the majors this season.

All of this suggests the Rockies will contend soon. Gonzalez would only bolster those hopes. The question Colorado brass is also considering: Can the team contend this season?

While the depth in the Colorado system suggests the Rockies could replace Gonzalez if they were to trade him, it could also be an argument for keeping him.

Though the Rockies have struggled lately, it appears the team could contend for a playoff spot. As of Thursday, Colorado is 9-12 and 2.5 games behind the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers. The Rockies will need to stay within five games of a postseason spot in the coming months for Gonzalez to have any value to the organization this season.

Of course, the organization will wait until it gets closer to the trade deadline to better handicap its fate.

But, if by mid-June Colorado is in the playoff race, it could make waiving the white flag difficult.

Internally, the Rockies could argue that they could build a contender around Gonzalez this season by becoming buyers in July. They have the depth in their system to be a player in the trade market. If the Rockies are ahead in the NL West by then, the decision would be easier. They would add to the roster. If things go the other way, trading Gonzalez would become more likely.

Though the situation looks similar to that of Tulowitzki, Rockies fans and management alike will be hoping the plot takes an entirely different arc and ends with Gonzalez leading the team to the playoffs.

 

Seth Gruen is a national baseball columnist for Bleacher Report. Talk baseball with Seth and follow him on Twitter @SethGruen.

All stats are up to date through games on April 27.

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Jorge De La Rosa Injury: Updates on Rockies SP’s Groin and Return

Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Jorge De La Rosa has suffered a groin strain and was put on the 15-day disabled list, the team announced Wednesday. 

Continue for updates.


Rockies Face Time Without Top-End Starter

Wednesday, April 27

The Rockies recalled right-hander Eddie Butler from Triple-A as a prospective replacement for De La Rosa in the rotation. 

De La Rosa was pulled from Tuesday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates after running out a grounder to lead off the third inning. 

The 35-year-old De La Rosa was 1-3 in five starts this season with a 10.18 ERA. His 23 earned runs was the most among all pitchers in the league, a dreadful start for the pitcher who was named the Rockies’ Opening Day starter. 

Speaking with Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post, De La Rosa disclosed that this groin issue has been nagging him since his first start of the season, but Rockies manager Walt Weiss doesn’t believe that this is a “long-term problem.”

“I think it’s been an issue, but I don’t know when,” Weiss said. “He’s had a lot of nagging injuries over the years that kind of crop up from time to time. The groin is one of them, so it’s hard to say when exactly it started.”

The lack of longevity stymied De La Rosa’s growth in the league, as he could never develop into a staff ace. In his first 14 seasons in the league, he’s only pitched more than 150 innings three times. 

What might have been more concerning for the Rockies was that De La Rosa admitted that his arm felt “lazy” after an April 19 start against the Cincinnati Reds, per Saunders. Weiss, though, said that the team doesn’t think he has any problems with his arm. 

Butler, who is available to come out of the bullpen for Wednesday night’s game, will try to provide some relief to a Rockies team that is allowing the most runs per game in the majors with 6.2. 

They’ll have to rely on Chad Bettis and Tyler Chatwood to carry the rotation toward the top and keep the Rockies in the thick of what looks to be a very competitive NL West division that features the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants

 

Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

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Story Records Most Home Runs Through 13 Career Games Since 1900

Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story smacked yet another home run during Monday’s 5-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds, giving him eight homers through the first 13 games of his career, the most in that span since 1900, per Elias Sports Bureau (via ESPN Stats & Info).

After going deep seven times through the first six games of the season (and his career), the 23-year-old rookie went through a bit of a drought, failing to go yard in six consecutive games, though he did still have six hits—including two triples and a double—during that stretch.

Story picked an excellent time to end his mini-drought, breaking a 1-1 lead in the eighth inning of Monday’s game with a solo home run off Reds relief pitcher Ross Ohlendorf.

The no-doubt blast to right-center field travelled an estimated 423 feet, with Story once again showing off the kind of raw power that is extremely rare for a middle infielder.

Despite striking out 23 times in the first 55 at-bats of his career, he owns a .309 batting average, .339 on-base percentage and .855 slugging percentage, with 14 RBI, 13 runs and a stolen base to complement the eight homers.

Since 1900, only two other players recorded seven homers in their first 13 career games, with Carlos Delgado (1993-94) and Dino Restelli (1949) doing the honors.

Delgado went on to enjoy a remarkable career that included 473 home runs, whereas Restelli ultimately retired with just 13 homers in 270 at-bats.

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How Far Can Rockies Sensation Trevor Story Take His Historic Home Run Binge?

Since they’ve all been heard by now, let’s skip the puns and grant that Trevor Story and his many dingers have been one of the best parts of the first couple of weeks of the 2016 season.

But in a related story, things have also gotten to a point where the question needs to be asked: Just how many more dingers can be expected from Story?

Per the latest news, “infinite” still seems like the best answer. With seven home runs in 12 games already in his pocket, Story poked yet another at Great American Ball Park on Monday. His eighth-inning shot gave the Colorado Rockies a 2-1 lead that ultimately turned into a 5-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds, and it looked and sounded like this:

With that, Colorado’s rookie shortstop now has eight home runs. That’s two more dingers than any other player has this season. And according to the Elias Sports Bureau (via ESPN Stats & Information), it’s one more than any other player has ever had through his first 13 career games.

Because somebody has to say it, Story is on pace to hit 100 home runs. Now that I’ve said that, I’ll also be the one to say he’s not going to get there. Call it a hunch based on the notion that a guy breaking the single-season home run mark by 27 dingers is slightly far-fetched.

Still, Story’s latest long ball at least keeps rookie home run marks in focus.

If the 23-year-old can’t top Mark McGwire’s rookie record of 49 home runs, perhaps he can top Frank Robinson and Wally Berger’s National League rookie record of 38. He only needs to hit 30 more over the next five-and-a-half months to get there, which will be no problem at the rate he’s going.

About that rate, though…

Everything looks good regarding what Story’s done when he’s made contact. He entered Monday with a fly-ball rate of 60 percent, tying him with Bryce Harper for fourth in baseball. He’s also had a hard-hit rate of 56.7 percent, which ranks first.

That’s the batted-ball profile of a legit power threat, and it’s a shoe that fits Story well. He slugged over .500 in his last 130 games at Double-A and Triple-A. And physically, the 6’1″, 180-pound Story struck one Rockies legend as an enhanced version of the best shortstop the franchise has ever had.

“He looked like Troy Tulowitzki with broader shoulders,” former Rockies first baseman Todd Helton told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. 

With Story, however, the inevitable “But…” has always been about his swing-and-miss problem. It occasionally threatened to derail his minor league career, in which he struck out in 26.8 percent of his plate appearances.

And now, it’s already pushing against his home run binge.

Story hid his swing-and-miss problem as he was launching six home runs in his first four games, as he struck out only 21.1 percent of the time. Over his last nine games, however, he’s struck out 47.5 percent of the time.

Though data from Monday night is not yet available as of this writing, Story’s underlying numbers confirm his recent struggles with whiffs are no accident:

Note: “O-Contact%” refers to contact outside the strike zone, which makes “Z-Contact%” for contact inside the strike zone. 

Story has actually gotten more selective with his swings since his impossibly hot start, but it hasn’t translated to more contact in or out of the zone. Quite the contrary, actually.

Pitchers have done their part to force this. Story’s percentage of pitches in the zone has fallen from 57.1 to 46.2. And as Brooks Baseball can show, that’s only half the, um, story.

Pitchers were pitching Story like this:

Now they’re pitching him like this:

The difference isn’t subtle. After not having a clear pattern early on, pitchers have since resolved to pitch Story low and away and low and away some more.

This is a go-to strategy for hitters who specialize in both power and whiffs, and it may be an especially good idea against Story. In his scouting report at Baseball Prospectus, Al Skorupa wrote that Story “doesn’t recognize spin well” and that he’s “vulnerable to soft and spin away when he becomes too pull oriented.”

With an overall pull percentage of 46.7, Story has indeed been pull-oriented. And as Baseball Savant can illustrate, a good percentage of his recent strikeouts have come on spinning pitches away from him. He’s inviting pitchers to pitch to his scouting report, and it’s working.

This more than likely puts the kibosh on the idea that Story can get to McGwire’s rookie home run record. It seems reasonable to mark Story down for a strikeout rate of at least 30 percent. No hitter with a strikeout rate that high has ever hit 49 homers.

And remember, we’re talking at least 30 percent. Story’s overall strikeout rate stands at 39 percent. If it stays that high, never mind home run records. He’ll have trouble even staying in the big leagues.

It’s not entirely out of the question, though, that Story can adjust.

To this end, it doesn‘t hurt that Story doesn‘t feel overwhelmed by anything that’s happening to him.

“I feel in control,” he told Nick Groke of the Denver Post recently. “Getting used to the big leagues is different. It’ll take a little bit. But it hasn’t sped up on me. I feel good about how I’m handling it.”

He already seems to be making an effort by going the other way more often. After it was just 26.7 percent in his first four games, Story’s opposite-field rate climbed to 40 percent in his next eight games. If he can continue that without sacrificing any power, he could actually do some damage against all the low-and-away pitches he’s seeing. That could force pitchers into a different strategy, which could help eliminate some whiffs.

If Story can go the other way more often and/or cut down on his strikeouts, the National League rookie home run record might actually be possible.

Chris Davis topped 38 homers despite striking out over 30 percent of the time just last year. Adam Dunn and Ryan Howard have also done it. Chris Carter, Mark Reynolds and Pedro Alvarez, meanwhile, have all topped 35 home runs with a strikeout rate over 30 percent. And to boot, none of these guys had the benefit of hitting regularly at Coors Field.

For Story, making history has been easy so far. In the long run, it’s most definitely going to be more difficult. But in this story, what’s difficult isn’t necessarily impossible.

 

Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted/linked.

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