Why Trevor Story's an Underrated MLB Prospect Likely to Develop into a Superstar

Mike RosenbaumMLB Prospects Lead WriterSeptember 28, 2012

Courtesy of MiLB.com
Courtesy of MiLB.com

Few shortstop prospects had as impressive of a season as the Colorado Rockies’ Trevor Story, who batted .270/.361/.499 with 43 doubles, 18 home runs and 15 stolen bases in 122 games for Low-A Asheville.

However, the 19-year-old continues to coast beneath the radar, continually overshadowed by the likes of Jurickson Profar, Jean Segura, Francisco Lindor and Xander Bogaerts.

In Prospect Pipeline’s Midseason Top 50 Prospects Update, I ranked Story as the No. 49 prospect in baseball. And as I reflect upon it now, I wish that I had ranked him even higher.

Selected by the Rockies in the supplemental first round (No. 43 overall) of the 2010 draft, Story remains the only shortstop drafted by the team in the first round since Troy Tulowitzki in 2005.

The 6’1”, 175-pounder made an immediate impact in his professional debut, batting .268/.364/.436 with 16 extra-base hits and 13 stolen bases in 47 games for the Rockies’ rookie-level affiliate in the Pioneer League. His performance ultimately earned him top prospect honors in the league.

After proving that he was more advanced than the typical prep player, the Rockies promoted Story to Low-A Asheville, bypassing the Class-A Short Season level entirely in the process. The right-handed hitter not only held his own at the more advanced level, Story thrived.

At the plate, he employs an upright stance and sets up with his feet just beyond the width of his shoulders. But what I like most is the positioning of Story’s hands prior to his load—provided that he gets his front foot down in time, they are in an ideal spot to drive through the baseball, regardless of location.

He seems to focus on driving the ball back up the box, and showcases above-average bat speed and a direct bat path with every swing.

Story was an extra-base machine this season, and he has the potential to post similar power numbers—40-plus doubles and anywhere from 15 to 25 home runs—in a given major league season. He struck out more than desired this season, but that’s a common occurrence for a young player in an older league.

He has that unique ability to make smooth, in-game adjustments, so expect his plate discipline and pitch recognition to improve with experience.

As a shortstop, Story possesses quiet, sneaky speed that plays up due to his instincts, and his first step lends to his impressive range. He moves well in all directions and should retain his speed and agility even as he grows into his projectable frame.

Drawing upon the scouting notes of a colleague, I really enjoyed what Mike Newman of FanGraphs.com had to say about Story’s defense after seeing him in person this spring:

When taking defensive reps, Story worked with the intensity of big leaguer as he practiced precision footwork up the middle. At a time when many young players would simply move from activity to activity with little attention to detail, the shortstop left me with the impression that he had a fantastic work ethic – important in gauging whether or not a player will max out his respective set of tools.. From taking proper angles deep in the hole to quick turns around the bag at second base, Story was efficient in his baseball movements and looked the part of a shortstop.

Story is much more than just another teenage shortstop prospect. As Newman suggested, he understands his strengths and weaknesses relative to his age and competition. So, as Story continues to refine his already advanced baseball skills, he seemingly has both the intensity and work ethic already in place to conceivably reach his high ceiling.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Rockies handle his development in the upcoming years, as I assume their aggressiveness will reflect the long-term plan for Troy Tulowitzki.

If his groin issue from this season (and overall wear and tear) ultimately forces a move from the position, the Rockies may be able to bump Story up the organizational ladder faster than originally expected. I have no doubt that Story could ultimately handle a move to second or third base, but it would be highly unnecessary at this time.

But regardless of Tulowitzki’s future position, it’s clear that the Rockies have a very special prospect in Trevor Story.