DENVER -- Just how special rookie shortstop Trevor Story can be was underscored in the eighth inning of the Rockies' 10-6 victory over the Giants at Coors Field on Wednesday night.With one out and a runner on first base, Story lined a single to right field.Big deal? Really big.Arenado's two
DENVER -- Just how special rookie shortstop Trevor Story can be was underscored in the eighth inning of the Rockies' 10-6 victory over the Giants at Coors Field on Wednesday night.
With one out and a runner on first base, Story lined a single to right field.
Big deal? Really big.
Arenado's two homers, seven RBIs lift Rockies over Giants
"The kid has it together," said Rockies manager Walt Weiss. "He is handling everything presented to him as a young player in this league. He is passing all the tests."
This is a rookie who, in the first six games of his Major League career, hit seven home runs, a record for a player of any experience level in the first six games of a season.
This is a rookie who on Tuesday night got a "welcome to the big leagues" moment from Giants right-hander Jeff Samardzija, who held Story hitless in four at-bats, three of them strikeouts.
This is a rookie who on Wednesday night became the first and second victims of the raised fences in right-center field at Coors Field. Story's long drives in the fourth and sixth innings -- seemingly headed for his eighth and ninth home runs of the season -- rattled high off the new chain-link barrier that was placed atop the old wall. That barrier was raised from 7 feet, 9 inches to its current 16 feet, 6 inches in an attempt to make Coors Field less susceptible to home runs.
"It is supposed to get the other team, not us," Weiss said.
Not that those triples frustrated Story. He didn't come up to the plate the next time, in the eighth, and overswing. Not even close.
With San Francisco having pulled to within 7-6, Story merely took a fastball from lefty Josh Osich and lined it into right field for a single, setting up Nolan Arenado's second home run of the game, a three-run shot that put Colorado in control heading into the ninth.
"What you like is a young player who has the discipline to stay with his approach after losing a couple home runs," said Weiss. "I'm sure there is frustration losing a couple home runs like that, but he didn't get caught up in that.
"That's a great sign. He hits the ball to the big part of the field multiple times. That's who he is. If they bust him inside, he will send it to left, but that's not his focus."
Story has been that way since his days at Irving (Texas) High School. He was one of those rare hitters who understood at an early age the importance of using the middle of the field. That maturity was a big factor in the Rockies making Story the 45th player selected in the Draft and signing him despite the fact he had a scholarship offer from LSU.
Story got away from his discipline approach briefly, at Class A Advanced Modesto in 2013, when he struck out 183 times in 497 at-bats with a pull-happy approach. He was sent back to Modesto to start the 2014 season, but he was back to being his old self at the plate. By the end of the 2015 season, Story had climbed to Triple-A, right back into the list of Colorado's prime prospects.
That's why Story can shrug off things like the two could-have-been home runs, which Arenado admitted prompted him to tell him "some things I shouldn't say [publicly]. The owner might get mad at me."
Story shook his head in agreement, but he quickly downplayed any disappointment.
"I was not too frustrated," he said. "I am happy any time I hit the ball hard. I thought it was nice to be on third. Sure, they may have been out last year, but this isn't last year."
So far, this has been Story's year.
Given a chance to make the jump to the big leagues because veteran shortstop Jose Reyes is on administrative leave pending a possible suspension for domestic abuse, Story was the sensation of Spring Training for the Rockies and has become a national celebrity in the opening days of the regular season.
Eight games into Story's big league career, he is hitting .343, leading the Major Leagues with seven home runs and leading Colorado with 13 RBIs, one more than Arenado, who had a career-high seven RBIs on Wednesday.
Not that the attention has overwhelmed Story. He remains calm and accommodating, avoiding the trap of becoming overwhelmed by sudden stardom, and he seemed to even enjoy the good-natured dugout ribbing that came with his driving balls off the chain-link edifice that separates the Rockies' bullpen from right field.
"They were telling me I don't have enough backside pop to be trying to go that way," Story said.
Nobody, however, is doubting Story belongs right where he is, in the big leagues.
Tracy Ringolsby is a national columnist for MLB.com.