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SAL notes: Story scripts solid start04/26/2012 11:20 AM ET
By Bill Ballew / Special to MLB.com
Trevor Story is not unlike many players in the South Atlantic League who are toiling in their first full professional season. The difference is that few 19-year-olds have been able to make the necessary adjustments as rapidly as the infielder, who was selected by the Rockies with the 45th overall pick in the 2011 Draft.
"It's been a little bit of a whirlwind," said Story. "Going from playing high school ball in Irving, Texas, to Asheville, North Carolina, with a stop in Casper, Wyoming, in between, it's been interesting. But it's all I've ever dreamed of, playing the game for a living, and I'm going to take advantage of it."
Story, the No. 8 prospect in the Colorado system, made an immediate impression after signing quickly with the Rockies and spending last summer in the Pioneer League. He was tabbed the Rookie-level circuit's top prospect after hitting at a .268 clip with six home runs and 28 RBIs in 47 games. The infielder continued to make a positive impression during instructional league and Spring Training, suggesting to Colorado brass that he was ready to make the jump to the full-season ranks.
He has proven them correct during the early stages of the campaign. Story hit safely in 11 of his first 16 games, including five multi-hit outings. In addition to hitting at a .309 clip, he has gone deep on four occasions while driving in eight runs. He also has displayed above-average speed on the base paths and impressive instincts in all phases of the game.
Defensively, Story was drafted as a shortstop, the position he played 32 times at Casper while spending 15 games at third base. So far this season, he has started 12 of his first 16 games at the more familiar spot. The Rockies, however, want to get a good look at Story's skill set, especially with the likes of Troy Tulowitzki currently holding down short in the big leagues.
"I'm definitely more comfortable at shortstop," Story said. "I've played so much more there, but I'm getting my reps in at third. The big thing is getting used to the angles and seeing the ball come off the bat. I feel like I'm getting better over there, but I realize it's going to take some time."
Scouts tabbed Story as a solid all-around athlete coming out of high school. He played football, basketball and baseball in Texas but focused most of his efforts on the diamond. The evaluators envision Story developing at least Major League average abilities in each of the five tools, in part because of his natural abilities as well as his strong presence on the field at such a young age.
"Baseball was always my first love," Story said. "After football practice I would go in the cage and take some cuts and ground balls. After basketball practice I would do the same thing. I enjoyed playing the other sports, but they definitely took a backseat to baseball."
Story signed a letter of intent to attend LSU but admits the decision was not a difficult one after the Rockies offered him a signing bonus reported at $915,000. Though the bus rides have been the toughest aspect to get used to in the professional ranks, he understands that simply comes with the territory.
"Drafted as high as I was, I realized that my best chance of getting to the big leagues was to sign and take advantage of the situation the Rockies were offering me," Story said. "So far, it's been everything I hoped it would be. This game is definitely a game of adjustments. You have to get your work in every day and then learn as much as you can while you're playing the games. Right now, that's the main thing I'm trying to do every time I come out here."
RiverDogs on a roll: Charleston won its 10th straight game with a 9-4 victory over Lexington on April 25, matching the RiverDogs' longest winning streak, which occurred in 2000. Charleston has outscored its opponents, 61-34, and owns a league-best 15-3 record.
Great Grasshoppers!: Greensboro pitchers Jose Fernandez, Gregory Nappo and Kevin Cravey combined to no-hit the Crawdads at Hickory in a 6-0 triumph on April 24. Fernandez improved to 2-0 on the season after limiting the hosts to two walks while striking out eight batters. Nappo allowed one base on balls and fanned three in two innings before Cravey tossed a perfect ninth frame.
Bundy-mania: Delmarva's Dylan Bundy worked his longest outing to date -- four innings -- but the results were the same against Greenville on April 24. The 2011 first-round pick struck out six Drive batters without allowing a hit. South Atlantic League hitters are now 0-for-39 with 21 strikeouts and one walk in 13 innings versus the 19-year-old righthander.
Record for Richardson: Hickory skipper Bill Richardson became the winningest manager in Crawdads history when the team posted its sixth straight triumph, a 1-0 decision over Savannah on April 22. Currently in his third season with the team, Richardson has notched 167 wins through games of April 25.