Let's Appreciate Trevor Story's Home Run Pace While It Lasts
Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story started the 2016 season with one foot in the batters box and the other in Cooperstown by hitting seven home runs in his first six games (28 plate appearances).
Of course, that pace was going to slow down, but Story has just two tanks since April 11th (14 games and 64 plate appearances) -- and that's concerning for many reasons.
Still, last night, he broke Albert Pujols' National League rookie record for home runs in April by belting his ninth bomb of the year.
Let's all wake up with Trevor Story hitting his 9th home run. #Rockies #MLB pic.twitter.com/s4cIIC9j2l
— The Ledge (@TheLedgeSports) April 28, 2016
He's still got time to break Jose Abreu's rookie record of 10 home runs in April, which was set in 2014.
But since his early-season barrage of home runs, Story's run into plenty of issues, placing his chance at the National League rookie record of 38 home runs in serious jeopardy.
For starters, his splits are pretty drastic since that seventh homer.
I mean, it's bound to happen when you've got an ISO of about a million, but Story's got a bigger problem: pitch location.
Check out the location of his first seven homers, per Baseball Savant.
Now see where the next two have come from.
Okay, so that doesn't show us much. He could have hit those same pitches out early in the season. The bigger issue is that he's not getting a chance to do so.
Here's the heatmap, per Baseball Savant, of pitches Story saw in his first six games.
And compare that to what he's seen since then.
Pitchers are painting the outside edge of the plate, and that's bad news for Story because he's striking out a ton (his 37% strikeout rate is second-worst in the bigs). But the K's are starting to come in different areas -- which is bound to happen if pitches are being thrown in a specific area, but that's no excuse.
Here are his first eight strikeout locations during his hot start.
And now here are the 26 since then.
It's a lot of curveballs and sliders breaking away from the righty, and he's not showing enough discipline to hold off of those pitches and avoid getting set down on strikes.
It's not like we all expected his pace to continue, but the reasons for his step backward could really limit his power for the rest of the season.
And that's just not fun for baseball.