By: Jason Mumm
There’s a story brewing at Talking Stick. No, it’s not the typical nonsensical spring training fodder about how four Rockies hitters are leading the Cactus League in RBI and HR’s, or how amazing it’s going to be when the Rockies break camp with a pitching rotation that hasn’t given up an earned run in 40 innings in Phoenix. I really tune out the spring baseball media blitz for these reasons. Nobody cares how guys are performing in March, and nobody is playing games that matter in the Cactus League, so please spare me the web gems, the bat flips, and ridiculous stats being posted by guys we’ve never seen or heard of (and probably never will again).
…But there’s a story brewing at Talking Stick. North of Phoenix on the ancient lands of the Akimel O’odham and Xalchidom Piipaash people who are known today as the Pima-Maricopa tribe, there is at least one man in a Rockies uniform on his own sort of vision quest. The success of his spiritual and physical journey is going to be important for the Rockies once the regular season starts.
The story is all about Story, Trevor Story that is, and his story gets interesting right at last year’s trade deadline when the Rockies traded Troy Tulowitzki to the Blue Jays in exchange for two pitching prospects and Jose Reyes. Getting Reyes in the deal and paying him even more money than Tulo didn’t seem quite right at the time in some fans’ eyes, but it did seem clear that the Rockies were looking to plug Reyes in for a couple of years to capably hold down the 6 spot. Reyes made it clear almost immediately that he hated being traded to a losing club and that he wasn’t happy. Notwithstanding Reyes’ intransigence, the plan truly fell apart during the off-season when Reyes was arrested on a domestic violence charge and subsequently placed on indefinite, paid leave pending the outcome of his trial. The Rockies entered spring camp without a starting shortstop and that left the door open for Story’s story to be written.
Prior to camp, Story’s projected ETA was 2017, but the club invited him to work with the bigs in the spring and he has delivered both offensively and defensively. Interestingly, Story would likely have been traded had the Rockies held on to Tulo’s contract. Instead, he’s currently batting .333 with 4 HR and 11 RBI with a 1.166 OPS as the Rockies shortstop in the Cactus League. “That’s great, ” you say, “but how will he be able to step into a starting role defensively?” Well, to say the least: the guy’s got glove (watch!).
Spring baseball is, well, spring baseball. No doubt Story would struggle as a rookie like all rookies do unless they happened to be named Mike Trout. However, with a huge glaring hole at shortstop staring down the Rockies as the season opener looms, it seems highly likely now that Trevor Story will be the Rockies starting 6-man and I think fans are going to like how this story plays out.