If you've got even a little bit of talent, Coors Field can make you look like a star.
It isn't a guarantee of success, but we've seen it enough to know over the last 20-plus years that Coors can turn seemingly pedestrian players into contributors. This is a large part of why you're seeing some hype build around Rockies rookie Trevor Story, the team's likely opening day starter at shortstop.
Is it all just the Coors Field affect, though?
Story has plenty of flaws, but he also has talent and pedigree worth believing in. Story was a top-100 prospect in Baseball America a few years back, after he posted a solid .277/.367/.505 line with 18 homers at Class A in 2012, but his prospect star lost some shine as he struggled to make contact in the high minors -- he struck out 183 times in 130 games in High-A Modesto and tumbled off the prospect rankings.
However, since then, he has managed to put up fine numbers, even if those flaws ultimately didn't go away. Story dominated Modesto in his second go-around, hitting .332/.436/.582 in 50 games in 2014, though he subsequently struggled badly yet again in Double-A, hitting .200 with 82 strikeouts in 56 games.
The issue with Story seems to be that he has struggled with each leap up the organization ladder since his breakout 2012 season. He saw his OPS climb more than .300 points in his second stint in both High-A and Double-A, signs that he was at least making the adjustments he needed to whenever he was overwhelmed by the talent level. He appears to have avoided that in Triple-A, slugging 10 homers in 61 games last season while hitting .277/.324/.504, though the numbers look a lot less impressive when you consider the environment. The average OPS in the Pacific Coast League was .750, the highest of any full-season organized league.
So, the story on Story thus far has been one of adjustments. He clearly has solid power -- .206 ISO in the minors, 20 homers per 150 games played -- but his strikeout issues have kept him from making an immediate impact at each level. He has obvious potential, and he is making the most of his opportunity in the spring, clubbing five homers in 16 games and counting, while hitting .381/.458/.881.
However, there is also significant risk of a total bust here, given his contact issues. Story has struck out in 27.4 percent of his plate appearances between Double-A and Triple-A, and it wouldn't be a total surprise if he has trouble keeping that mark below 30 percent in his first stint in the majors.
If he can, of course, there is pretty impressive potential here, especially for Fantasy. A middle-infielder with 20-homer potential is always going to have value, and Story has also averaged 27 steals per-150 games in his min0r-league career, at an 88.1 percent success rate. Toss in the fact that Rockies hitters sported a .346 BABIP at home last season -- a consistent trend throughout Coors Field history -- and it isn't difficult to see Story becoming a useful Fantasy option.
Story isn't guaranteed a full-time role for the rest of the season, but it looks like he'll get every opportunity to prove himself while Jose Reyes remains out. His ADP continues to climb, but he still stayed on the board until Round 17 in our recent Roto mock draft. If you can snag him at that point, you are probably looking at a risk worth taking.