Story seeing results of offseason program
Rockies rookie's swing had power potential, unlocked by leg work
DENVER -- Rockies shortstop and reigning National League Player of the Week Trevor Story had been told his power would come, and he began to see it last year.No one saw seven home runs in the season's first six games from Story, 23, who had never appeared in the Majors
DENVER -- Rockies shortstop and reigning National League Player of the Week Trevor Story had been told his power would come, and he began to see it last year.
No one saw seven home runs in the season's first six games from Story, 23, who had never appeared in the Majors before Opening Day. But power from the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Story is not a complete surprise. His is a swing with "lift," and with the leg strength that accounts for some of the 25 pounds he has put on since being drafted 45th overall in 2011, it's a homer-producing combination. He hit a career-high 20 homers last year in 130 games at Double-A New Britain and Triple-A Albuquerque.
"I noticed that some of the balls that didn't get out the year before were getting out," Story said. "That's just a testament to our offseason program.
"I've heard that a lot, that I have a little bit of lift to my swing. For me, when I'm giving my best swing, the ball's a line drive or in the air. If it's on the ground, it's not my best swing."
• Story rides 7 HRs to NL Player of Week nod
Story's mission is to keep his mind on preparation and the fundamentals of his swing. He said the media attention that has come with first-week success hasn't been a detriment.
"I realize that handling the media is part of the game -- a big part of the game," Story said. "It's a way of reaching out to the fans and all that great stuff. But I have a set time for it, I handle it then, and after that it's time to play baseball."
Manager Walt Weiss's strategy of putting Story second in the order has been part of the success. While leadoff man Charlie Blackmon has had little fortune (.111 batting average entering Tuesday), he is forcing pitchers to work. And Story has Carlos Gonzalez and Nolan Arenado behind him. For Tuesday's game against the Giants, Weiss moved pitcher Tyler Chatwood to the No. 8 hole. That slid DJ LeMahieu, who hit safely in each of the first six games and started with five multi-hit games, into the nine-hole for the potential of an extra runner on base when the lineup gets to Story. Weiss batted the pitcher eighth several times last season.
"It was a good spot for him right out of the gate -- for a young kid it's the most protected spot in the lineup," Weiss said of Story. "He's got power. I like thump in the two-hole. It's the perfect spot."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and** like his Facebook page**.