Trevor Story ’s fantasy dominance continued in 2020. He appeared in 59 games, hitting 11 home runs, swiping 15 bags and slashing .289/.355/.519. He’s been one of the consistent fantasy players at his position, especially 2018 and 2019, and 2019 was no different. He was one of just six players to have double-digit home runs and stolen bases in 2020, and he was the only person in all of Major League Baseball to hit double-digit home runs and steal at least 15 bases. THE ONLY ONE. In the current landscape, he’s a bit of an anomaly, in that he is an above average asset in all of the major offensive categories. There’s very few humans where that sentiment is echoed, but Story is one of them, and he should be drafted as such.
He was a member for the 30/20 club in 2018 and 2019, and will likely be a member of that exclusive club yet again 2021. His walks were slightly up last year, and his 24.3 percent strikeout rate last year was the lowest mark of his career! His 30.6 O-Swing% was his lowest mark since 2016, while his 10.6 SwStr% was the lowest of his career! Continuing to stay in the zone and posting contact rates above 77 percent is key for Story.
His launch angle was elevated, but against non-fastballs, his exit velocity on those pitches dropped rather drastically.
Furthermore, when you look at Story’s splits from 2020, it tells a story that is further accentuated by the images below. In his first 115 at-bats last year, he hit eight home runs, stole five bases and posted a 0.48 BB/K rate. However, in his final 120 at-bats of the year, he hit three home runs, stole 10 bases and posted a 0.33 BB/K rate. Additionally, his 0.46 GB/FB ratio took a significant downturn to 0.85 in the second half. That explains the power drop, too.
Quick interjection if I may... Story is a notoriously streaky hitter. Perhaps the shortened season didn’t give him time to get hot again. Now, he still hit for a fine average, but as mentioned, the power wasn’t quite there.
With that in mind, it likely doesn’t come as much as a surprise that his peripherals took a downturn, too. The flashy numbers like exit velocity and hard hit rate hit you up front, but the peripherals and other underlying numbers can be responsible for wreaking just as much havoc.
Until very near the end of the year, his strikeout rate steadily declined, but it jumped at the end. His walk rate diminished, and that certainly coincides with him leaving the zone more, and his overall trend line for swinging strike rate was up as the year progressed.
Story’s power numbers took a hit at the end of 2020, but his numbers were still impressive and he should remain an above average contributor in that department. I guess the scariest thing about Story is that he’s actually underperformed his expected home run total each of the last two seasons. Could this be the year he gets to 40 home runs? With a favorable home park, absolutely, but players around him will need to perform so that they don’t pitch around Story a lot. Losing Nolan Arenado in the lineup hurts, but if Colorado actually plays a lot of their high potential youngsters, and they perform, Story’s counting stats may not take too large of a hit.
As mentioned earlier, Story has been one of the game’s most consistent power/speed combo players over the past few seasons. He’s pricy in drafts, but he’s more than worth it. Since the start of 2018, he has the 9th most HRs, 11th most runs scored, 7th most SBs and 8th highest slugging percentage in all of Major League Baseball. In fact, since the start of 2018, he’s Nolan Arenado but with more speed.
Story is a consistent option that gives your team an excellent baseline in all of the major offensive categories. He also just so happens to be above average in the stolen base department, which always sends fantasy owners into Sherlock Holmes mode, trying to find more steals. Story has top four upside in fantasy baseball and he’s one of just a handful of guys that could hit 40 homers and steal 30 bases in 2021. He has a very high floor, but don’t count out his massive upside, even with Arenado’s departure.