Story wants to pen tale on defense

Story wants to pen tale on defense

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Any discussion of Rockies shortstop Trevor Story begins with home runs and segues to the bat after he hit 27 home runs as a rookie in 2016. But Story would like his glove to be in the conversation.

"I'm really prideful of my defense, probably more than offense," Story said. "It's huge, especially at shortstop. You've got to have a good defender there. I don't really just want to be good. I want to be one of the great shortstops."

Story's physical tools reveal that it's possible.

Story on his health for spring

According to Statcast™, of the 36 shortstops who had at least 10 "competitive throws" (above a player's 90th percentile in arm strength, in an attempt to weed out easy lobs), Story ranked seventh with an 85.5 mph average. The Angels' Danny Espinosa, who played for the Nationals last season, was first at 90.7 mph.

Top 100: Story, Tulo, Russell

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So Story has the arm, and he is working on the instincts. Former Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki helped him set priorities for how to practice and what to practice. And Story has mentors in second baseman DJ LeMahieu and third baseman Nolan Arenado, who have a combined five Rawlings Gold Glove Awards.

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"If I keep picking their minds, and getting out there and doing early work with them, that's the next step," Story said. "Those two are elite."

Story is intrigued by the art as much as the science of positioning. Last season, the Rockies played 1,354 extreme defensive shifts -- third-most in the National League. But the instinctive player goes beyond the data for his exact setup, which he adjusts as the pitcher is in his windup.

"I study a lot," he said. "It might not be two or three steps. It might be one step this way or one step that way. You get a feel for the hitter, how he's doing that day. They might be a little late and you step toward that side. Picking up the signs [from the catcher] is huge, too."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.