Rockies rookie went yard a record number of times in first 6 games
By Thomas Harding
DENVER -- After hitting a Major League-record seven home runs in the first six games -- not only of the season, but of his career -- Rockies rookie shortstop Trevor Story was named the National League Player of the Week on Monday.
Story went deep twice against D-backs pitcher Zack Greinke last Monday to become the first player of the modern era (since 1900) to homer twice in a season opener that happened to be his Major League debut. And the firsts kept coming. He went deep in the first four games, tying Willie Mays (1971), Mark McGwire ('98), Nelson Cruz (2011) and Chris Davis ('13) for the Major League mark.
After not homering Saturday, Story added his seventh homer on Sunday. The Elias Sports Bureau reported Monday that he is the first rookie to have seven home runs over any six-game span.
No one could have expected these heights, but Story, 23, expected to account well for himself after winning the starting job in Spring Training.
"I've always had the confidence I could play at this level," Story said after Sunday's 6-3 victory over the Padres, during which he homered in the eighth off right-handed reliever Brandon Maurer. "Sometimes confidence wavers, but I think belief is the big part of it. I believe that I can play here. It's been fun so far.
"It's a good feeling to perform like I have so far, but it's a long season."
Story and fellow rookie Tyler White of the Astros, the AL Player of the Week, join the Dodgers' Fernando Valenzuela and the White Sox's Salome Barojas as the only rookies to both be named Player of the Week (April 6-12, 1981) for the first week of a season since the award's inception in 1974.
Story, a supplemental first-round pick (45th overall) out of Irving (Texas) High in 2011, certainly made the first week a long one for pitchers. He's lifting all kinds of pitches, at all different speeds, over the wall. Three homers have come on fastballs in the 92- 93-mph range. He's taken out two sliders, at 83 mph and 85, plus a changeup at 83 and a curve at 78.
This is not to say Story is impossible to pitch to -- he has eight strikeouts. But with seven of his nine hits being homers against different types of pitches, he's certainly difficult. No doubt opponents will be studying the video for holes.
"I guess that's a little advantage," Story said of the fact that there is more Major League video on the pitchers than on him.
Well, after one week, the pitchers have a highlight reel to give them nightmares.