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John Dewan's Stat of the Week - Trevor Story

​Trevor Story's New Homes

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Trevor Story is a man on the move in more ways than one.

Story signed a six-year deal with the Red Sox where, at least for 2022, he’ll be their everyday second baseman. Xander Bogaerts will be the Red Sox starting shortstop. Story has never played second base in the major leagues and hasn’t played there at any level since playing 24 games in the minors in 2015.

There are a couple of things to unpack in Story’s story (couldn’t resist).

Goodbye Coors, Hello Fenway

Story is leaving the most hitter-friendly ballpark in baseball in Coors Field. There isn’t a stadium that plays close to as hitter-friendly as Coors does, but Story’s still in a pretty good spot.

Over the last three seasons, Fenway Park ranks first in the AL in our Ballpark Index rankings in doubles and runs scored, and ranks second in batting average.

Our Ballpark Index compares stats for a team and its opponents in home games and road games. For example, from 2019 to 2021, the Red Sox and their opponents had 884 doubles in Red Sox home games and 652 doubles in Red Sox road games. There were 36% more doubles in home games, giving Fenway Park a Ballpark Index of 136.

One thing worth noting: Coors Field had a Ballpark Index of 113 for home runs by right-handed batters the last three seasons. Fenway Park’s Ballpark Index for home runs by right-handed batters is 95.

In The Bill James Handbook 2022, our projections for Story were a .280/.353/.545 slashline with 36 home runs.

Our preliminary spring update, with his home ballpark changed to Fenway Park, dropped those numbers to .262/.338/.510 with 33 home runs.

The move is projected to cost Story about 50 points in OPS, as he was at .898 in the Handbook and .848 in our update.

That sort of decline would not be as steep as those experienced by other prominent Rockies, like Troy Tulowitzki and Nolan Arenado, upon leaving Coors Field. Arenado's .807 OPS overall last season was 83 points below his .890 OPS in his time with the Rockies.

Fenway Park vs Coors Field – Ballpark Factors – Last 3 Seasons

Fenway Park Coors Field
AVG (RHB) 106 122
Runs 112 134
Doubles 136 120
Home Runs (RHB) 95 113

The move to second base

Red Sox manager Alex Cora said that Bogaerts, a potential free agent after this season, will remain at shortstop, even though Story’s numbers at the position are far better. In fairness, there are concerns regarding Story’s arm, as an elbow injury significantly impacted his throwing with the Rockies last season.

Story could move back to shortstop in the future, but for now, let’s consider him as a second baseman, and he should be a pretty good one.

Even with the elbow issue, Story’s 9 Runs Saved were the most by an NL shortstop in 2021. His 36 Runs Saved as a shortstop since 2019 trail only Javier Báez’s 40 in that span.

Story is a good athlete and a smart defender. His 78 Good Fielding Plays over the last three seasons are easily the most among shortstops.

The shortstop-to-second base switch is one that a fair number of players have handled without issue.

Marcus Semien, who had saved 11 runs at shortstop for the A's in 2018 but then cost the team 6 in 2020, made the switch for the Blue Jays and finished second among second basemen with 11 Runs Saved in 2021.

Jorge Polanco cost the Twins 39 runs at shortstop from 2016 to 2020, but saved 3 at second base in 2021.

Jean Segura is another current example of a player who has successfully made the switch. He did so first in 2016 with the Diamondbacks and led all second basemen with 11 Defensive Runs Saved, then again with the Phillies, where he's saved 7 runs the last two seasons after playing a slightly below-average shortstop from 2017 to 2019.

There's also Báez, who has rotated between both second base and shortstop and been good at both for the Cubs and Mets.

It's tough to put a number on Story’s projected defense but given all that we know, it wouldn’t be surprising if he was one of the better defensive second basemen in the game – which even with the drop-off in offense would still make him a highly-valuable player. 

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