Many questioned the Rockies first year Senior Vice President/General Manager Jeff Bridich after he traded perennial-all star Troy Tulowitzki and LaTroy Hawkins for Jose Reyes and three pitching prospects.
Now almost a year removed, the emergence of rookie Trevor Story has quieted any objections with 16 long balls – the most by a rookie shortstop before the All Star break since 1933 – and 42 RBIs.
While his average is not eye-popping (.262), and the strikeout rate is high (a third of his at-bats), Story has been sublime this summer with a National-League-leading 33 extra base hits. Proving that he has big league power and can drive the ball to all sides of the field.
“I think every body including Trevor did not expect him to have the April that he had.” Bridich told 850 KOA in May. “There was an idea that he was going to be our shortstop for the future, (but) I don’t think anyone expected all the home runs and extra base hits so quickly, he has really done a great job and has been pretty even keel.”
Meanwhile, Tulo is having the worst year of his career – hitting an atrocious .204 average – and has recently found himself on the 15-day disabled list.
This comes as no surprise to Rockies fans’ who have watched ‘the man made of glass’ miss a total of 270 games due to injury in his tenure with Colorado.
There is no denying Tulowitzki is a great player and one of the best short stops in the game. He has earned two gold gloves, made five all start appearances and holds the best career fielding percentage by a shortstop in MLB history (.985), but that was never the problem. Being injury prone and a price tag of $20 million a year was too much for the Rockies to hold onto.
“This is a good baseball deal for us, as tough as it was…” Bridich said in a press conference the day after the trade. “It’s not lost on us the type of impact Troy has had on this organization over the last eight years. It’s bittersweet.”
No doubt Story and other top prospect Brendan Rodgers moving up the ranks, made the decision easier for Bridich who traded the eight-year veteran before last year’s trade deadline in late July.
Tulo was the lone position player left from the ’07 World Series team, and beloved in the Mile High city, but a move had to be made if the Rocks’ wanted to have a viable chance in the future.
As great as Tulo was, he was getting up in age (31), and the Rockies haven’t made the playoffs since 2009. Story on the other hand, is at the ripe age of 23, and will only improve as he continues to mature and gain more experience at the big league level.
The Purple and Black are amidst another “rebuilding year” and currently sit at (26-32) on the season. However, with Story and MVP-candidate Nolan Arenado manning the left side of the diamond, the future is bright.
All Bridich needs to do now is find some pitching and the Rockies will start to compete for playoff contention.