You want to talk Trevor Story? OK, let's talk Trevor Story. The Colorado Rockies rookie shortstop slammed his seventh home in six games, a solo shot in the bottom of the eighth that gave the Rockies a 5-3 lead on their way to a 6-3 win against the San Diego Padres. There are all kinds of fun trivia related to his exploits and those of his teammates.
A few good ones:
-- Story became the first player to hit seven home runs in his team's first six games. Larry Walker (1997), Mike Schmidt (1976) and Willie Mays (1964) had each hit six. Pretty good company.
-- Story has more home runs than 16 teams.
-- Also, the Rockies are the second team to hit 17 home runs in their first six games, joining the 2006 Detroit Tigers.
How's he doing his damage? Let's review's Story's seven home runs, four of which have traveled 425-plus feet:
1. Off Zack Greinke: 0-1 fastball, line drive to right field.
2. Off Zack Grienke: 2-0 slider, fly ball to left-center.
3. Off Shelby Miller: 1-0 changeup, fly ball to left-center.
4. Off Patrick Corbin: 1-0 fastball, line drive to left-center.
5. Off Chaz Roe: 0-0 curveball, fly ball to left field.
6. Off Ryan Buchter: 3-2 fastball, fly ball to left field.
7. Off Brandon Maurer: 1-1 slider, fly ball to left-center.
You can see the impressive thing about these home runs: He has hit them against four different pitches. Sunday's home run came against a hanging slider from Maurer that stayed up and over the plate. That's what good sluggers are supposed to do -- make you pay for a mistake.
It's obviously too early to draw any kind of conclusion on Story. He has struck out eight times in 28 plate appearances and that was the knock against him coming up through the minors. Will his swing-and-miss tendencies get exploited at the major league level? While he had 70 extra-base hits in the minors last year, including 20 home runs, he also fanned 141 times in 130 games. He has just one walk so far but he hasn't been overly aggressive and swinging at bad pitches. His chase rate on pitches outside the strike zone is 28.6 percent, just a tick above the major league average of 27.3 percent, and better discipline than teammates Nolan Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez.
I suspect it's that ability to lay off those breaking balls off the plate that will tell the long-term future of Story. As we can see from the list above, he has the ability to punish mistakes when he's ahead in the count. Of course, that's a general statement you can make about most hitters, but many hitters with bat speed and raw power have found themselves on the bench or in Triple-A, victims of a poor approach.
Considering the Rockies have 18 games remaining in April, it's not inconceivable Story could challenge the record for most home runs hit by the end of April. That mark is 14, shared by Albert Pujols (2006) and Alex Rodriguez (2007). The Rockies are off on Monday before hosting the Giants for three games and then heading to Wrigley Field on the weekend.
Maybe that's getting ahead of ourselves. The Rockies just hope Story gives them another solid bat alongside leadoff hitter Charlie Blackmon and Arenado and Gonzalez. The latter two combined for 82 home runs last year with Arenado hitting 42 and Gonzalez belting 40. While the Rockies led the National League with 737 runs, the hard truth is it wasn't a great offense. Playing in Coors Field, the Rockies need to score more runs than that to have any hopes of competing for a playoff spot. The last time they scored 800 runs was 2009 -- when they just happened to make the postseason. That was an era for slightly higher run scoring, but 800 runs is a goal this offense must have, not merely leading the league in runs. (The Rockies were 14th in the NL in runs on the road in 2015.)
Then there's the pitching staff, which -- as usual -- remains a work in progress. Chad Bettis, coming off a solid 2015, pitched seven strong innings on Sunday. Tyler Chatwood is healthy again and had a strong first outing against the Diamondbacks. They have big hopes for Jonathan Gray, currently out with an abdominal strain. In the bullpen, the Rockies are trying a new plan, acquiring relievers who rely primarily on fastballs and should be better bets in Coors. That's why they traded for Jake McGee and signed Jason Motte. Expectations aren't high for the Rockies and while they won on Sunday they did give up 29 runs the previous two games to a Padres team that had just been shut out its first three games.
And while the Trevor Story saga was the most exciting result of our first week, Rockies fans have seen hot Aprils before: They went 16-13 in 2014, 16-11 in 2013 and 17-8 in 2011. Heck, they haven't finished under .500 in April since 2010. So maybe that's the moral of Story's first week in the majors: It's a long grind of a season.