— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) April 30, 2016
Rookie Trevor Story leads MLB with 10 home runs this season pic.twitter.com/W5KtowOYQ0
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 30, 2016
#Rockies Trevor Story has 10 HR in 21 career games. Tied with George Scott for fastest in baseball history to 10 HR.
— Ace of MLB Stats (@theaceofspaeder) April 30, 2016
Fun stuff there for Trevor Story -- Boomer Scott! -- though we should note that Colorado Rockies teammate Nolan Arenado also hit his 10th home run, following Story's with a back-to-back blast to win a nine-pitch duel with Arizona Diamondbacks starter Robbie Ray as the Rockies rolled to a 9-0 win on Friday night.
Here's what's impressed me about Story in the past week: He drew a walk in this game, giving him five in his past four games, after walking just four times in his first 17 games. This could be a sign of the rookie adjusting to what some pitchers are trying to make with him. Here's what I'm getting at -- his home runs:
Pitch locations for Trevor Story's home runs: pic.twitter.com/z9bwyXxLVP
— David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield) April 30, 2016
Safe to say he's turning on those pitches middle to middle-in. Let's break his season into two parts: Through his first 13 games, when he hit eight home runs, and then his next eight games, which includes home runs in his past two.
Pitches on the outside third of the plate (or outside):
First 13 games: 51 percent
Next eight: 43 percent
Wait, this isn't what I expected. You'd think pitchers would try to get him to chase more outside pitches. Instead, they've been throwing more inside pitches.
First 13 games: 35 percent
Next eight games: 26 percent
So even though his numbers have tailed off, he's actually swinging and missing less often. What he's doing is hitting a lot more foul balls, so his actual in-play percentage has dropped from 30 percent to 21 percent, even with better contact.
He's not always driving those pitches, but in general, more contact is a good thing. And he hasn't started chasing more pitches out of the zone -- yet. Story is going to have a lot of swing-and-miss in his game, but he's not in outrageously bad territory in that metric. His overall miss rate is 31 percent, which ranks 30th worst out of 197 qualified batters. That's the same rate that guys such as Nelson Cruz, J.D. Martinez and Mark Trumbo had last year. So, yes, Story is going to strike out a lot, which ultimately will deflate his batting average.
That's why taking some walks is a good sign, to help boost his OBP. He actually has a somewhat patient approach up there; he ranks 91st in overall swing rate -- the percentage of all pitches he swings at -- putting him right near the MLB average.
These are good indicators for a rookie who is still learning. He has obviously been hot in these 21 games and the cat-and-mouse game will continue throughout the season. But one thing we know: When he connects, ball go far.