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We continue our series of articles debating the overall ranking of some of the most fantasy-relevant players of the 2018 baseball season with a player who captivated the world with the start of his career in 2016, but now finds himself in need of redemption after a disappointing 2017. Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story is a tantalizing pick going around No. 100-125 in most drafts (he has an NFBC ADP of 118 as of 3/8/18), with many still cooling their burns from his letdown '17, yet still drawn in by such a powerful bat at Coors Field.

RotoBaller's expert writers have come up with our consensus rankings for mixed leagues, but that doesn't mean we agreed on everything. In this space, we'll hear from rankers with the biggest differences of opinion on a well-known player and have them defend their position against each other.

We march on with Story. Kyle Bishop feels that Trevor isn't worthy of his top-150, while Nick Mariano is a bit more optimistic. Let's get ready to rumble!

Editor's Note: Stay on top of our MLB off-season news and fantasy analysis all year round. Read our daily fantasy columns about MLB prospects, dynasty outlooks, player outlooks and much more. It's always fantasy baseball season here. Let's Go!

 

2018 Draft Rankings Debate - Trevor Story

Rank Tier Player Position Kyle Nick Pierre Jeff Harris Bill
112 8 Trevor Story SS 156 123 98 157 121 70

 

Kyle Bishop's Ranking: #156 overall

Nick. Buddy. I get it.

I was there. I was there, man. I was at Coors Field for their home opener and saw Story hit two majestic bombs. The crowd loved it, and so did I. Maybe it was the reverent atmosphere, or maybe just the copious amounts of alcohol and marijuana I had consumed - hey, I was on vacation - but it felt for all the world like we were seeing the birth of a superstar.

Story did nothing to dispel that notion; he spent the next few months raking before a torn thumb ligament ended his season prematurely. Entering 2017, the hype was at a fever pitch. Fantasy owners across the land bought in on Story, and hard. In our preseason rankings, the RotoBaller staff placed Story at 24th overall. You had him at 17, ahead of (among others) Joey Votto, Chris Sale, Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, Giancarlo Stanton, and J.D. Martinez.

How did Story reward our faith? By laying a big wet fart of a season. He stumbled early and never really recovered; even a September power spike couldn't keep him from hitting fewer home runs in a full season than he had in his truncated rookie year. Story hit just .239, thanks in large part to an ugly 34.4% strikeout rate, and those struggles kept him stuck primarily in the lower half of the Rockies lineup, capping his run production.

When you look at Trevor Story, you still see the guy who came up as a potential 20/20 player and proceeded to set the league aflame for a few months. I remember that guy, of course. I also remember the guy who looked completely clueless at the plate for long stretches last season; who made less contact than all but 10 other qualified hitters; who struggled with too much loft in his swing, something that his high pop-up rates throughout the minor leagues suggest may be a feature rather than a bug. The current landscape, saturated with cheap power and low batting averages, does Story no favors either.

Story's upside is tantalizing, particularly with the benefit of plying his trade in Coors Field roughly 50 percent of the time. But the inconsistency concerns me, as does the plate approach. We've seen what the downside looks like for Story, and it ain't pretty; it's also got fairly decent odds of happening again. These aren't new issues for him.

I'll still consider buying if the price is right, but to quote what some refer to as the greatest story ever told the scales have fallen from my eyes.

 

Nick Mariano's Ranking: #123 overall

I’m not your buddy, guy.

I will now parse out my jealousy that you were there on Opening Day, as well as the double-edged sword of emotions that I swung when scoring a Trevor Story autograph for just $5 at a local card show last weekend. I remember looking at his cards back in 2016 and debating whether to drop $50+ on a basic one. Luckily, I did not. As happy as I was to get the card on the cheap, it represented how rough of a read Chapter 2 really was.

I bought in big last year and I paid the price. Like Story, I swung for the fences with my ranking, and I hit a measly pop-up. I won’t echo your icky metaphor, but it was an awful growing pain to witness. While it’s impossible to paint his season as “good”, I will say that I think many are anchored by the terrible slump to open 2017 that led many to dump him after a mid-May DL stint.

Prior to hitting the 10-day DL with a left-shoulder strain (suffered on a huge swing, of course) on May 10, Story was slashing just .180/.289/.396. He returned by hitting safely in six-of-seven games with two homers, and would proceed to slash .255/.314/.474 the rest of the way, hitting 18 homers and swiping six bags in 427 plate appearances. I also think righties figured out how to attack him, as the sophomore would hit just .216 with 14 dingers in 405 PAs against them compared to .301 with 10 HRs in just 150 PAs against southpaws.

I don’t see the 20/20 player anymore, but I do see the 30/10 player. I see a guy entering his third season in what is by far the league’s most offense-friendly park, with the margin only widened by Chase Field introducing a humidor. I hesitate with inconsistency too, but that’s why it’s important to note that my ranking is tied to season-long roto leagues. His stock suffers mightily in points and head-to-head. But he still had an ISO over .230 in four out of six months and shaved his K rate down to 29.8% in September. His pop-up rate went from 15% in the first half to 4.4% in the second, with his groundball rate absorbing most of that, going from 29.9% to 37.4%. His hard-hit rate soared from 31% to 49.4%. I’m a lot more forgiving of first-half slumps in youngsters than second-half nosedives.

There’s also the little nugget that Rox manager Bud Black is intrigued at the notion of batting Story cleanup. I realize coaches say a lot of things during Spring Training, with the bulk of them being nice soundbites that show confidence in their player. But boy, that is a juicy ceiling to buy into. One might just think that if Story can show increased contact and discipline in Spring Training then he could get the gig, or somewhere close to it.

As of this writing on March 10, Story is 8-for-17 with four walks and five strikeouts. And yes, you damn well better believe that seven of those eight hits went for extra bases (four doubles, two triples and a homer). In The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational, Story had an ADP of 111 across the 13 leagues, with an 82 min pick and 134 max pick. I think my rank stands as quite reasonable in the market as well, with room for reaching if need be. My foundation is usually set by pick 100, so why not crack open a cold Coors and see what Chapter 3 has in store for the baseball world? Also, our very own Bill Dubiel took home a top-five finish in FantasyPros 2017 MLB accuracy rankings, and he's the highest on Story of us all at 70. In Bill we trust.

 

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