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Trevor Story 2017 Outlook


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FWIW, from Grey at Razzball who was a huge Story supporter preseason:

 

Pat Valaika – 2-for-4, 5 RBIs and his 7th homer, hitting .243.  I forget if I mentioned this in the top 100 that’s coming tomorrow or if I’ve mentioned it already.  Oh no, my past brain has melded with my present brain and doesn’t know what to tell my future brain!  Eek, I’m a character from a Christopher Nolan movie!  Any hoo!  I wouldn’t be shocked if Valaika completely steals Story’s job in the 2nd half, if Story doesn’t quickly come out of his funk.

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I'd be shocked if that happened. 

 

Story's sorted out his launch angle issues a bit that were leading to way too many popups in April and early-May. I think the team still believes in his skillset and he'll bounce back in a major way in the 2H. 

Edited by absknicks
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35 minutes ago, absknicks said:

I'd be shocked if that happened. 

 

Story's sorted out his launch angle issues a bit that were leading to way too many popups in April and early-May. I think the team still believes in his skillset and he'll bounce back in a major way in the 2H. 

Gray is getting old really fast, the worst is when he tries to make a dumb joke that people take literally, while not the case here, still annoying 

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1 hour ago, absknicks said:

I'd be shocked if that happened. 

 

Story's sorted out his launch angle issues a bit that were leading to way too many popups in April and early-May. I think the team still believes in his skillset and he'll bounce back in a major way in the 2H. 

 

Story's launch angle is now at the ground, if you check his GB% and FB% from June. Not saying he won't find that 'sweet spot' but he's far from sorted out at this point. 

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1 hour ago, handyandy86 said:

 

Story's launch angle is now at the ground, if you check his GB% and FB% from June. Not saying he won't find that 'sweet spot' but he's far from sorted out at this point. 

 

 Eno went into detail about this in the last Sleeper and the Bust podcast which included a 30-day rolling launch angle chart, I'd recommend checking it out/listening to it. Goes pretty in depth. 

Edited by absknicks
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6 hours ago, handyandy86 said:

 

Story's launch angle is now at the ground, if you check his GB% and FB% from June. Not saying he won't find that 'sweet spot' but he's far from sorted out at this point. 

 

Sacrificed power for the special ability to hit above the Mendoza line. I would be curious to see how Story's launch angle adjustment ranks in terms of magnitude. I can't think of a more extreme shift in a player's approach. He went from trying to launch everything 800 feet (resulting in pop-ups), to trying to tunnel under the pitcher's mound. 

 

In the last two weeks he has found a middle ground. Now he hits for neither power or average. I am moving on. He seems completely lost. 

 

Also, people should rightfully note that Story remains anchored at 7th in the order despite injuries to Cargo and LeMahieu. He's not moving up. 

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7 hours ago, herschel said:

FWIW, from Grey at Razzball who was a huge Story supporter preseason:

 

Pat Valaika – 2-for-4, 5 RBIs and his 7th homer, hitting .243.  I forget if I mentioned this in the top 100 that’s coming tomorrow or if I’ve mentioned it already.  Oh no, my past brain has melded with my present brain and doesn’t know what to tell my future brain!  Eek, I’m a character from a Christopher Nolan movie!  Any hoo!  I wouldn’t be shocked if Valaika completely steals Story’s job in the 2nd half, if Story doesn’t quickly come out of his funk.

 

Valaika has been flat out better.  Story wastes so many ABs with guys on.  No surprise here if he loses the job. Still holding but not for long. 

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6 hours ago, absknicks said:

 

 Eno went into detail about this in the last Sleeper and the Bust podcast which included a 30-day rolling launch angle chart, I'd recommend checking it out/listening to it. Goes pretty in depth. 

 

Sorry didn't have time to elaborate on this earlier so for anyone interested who wants a cliff notes version here's what I was referring to:

 

-Eno pointed out that prior to May 1 Story's average launch angle was about 40 degrees. That's essentially a can of corn flyball to the outfield. Ever since about June 1 he's been around 20 degrees in terms of average launch angle. Anything above 30 degrees is usually where the sharp drops in production occur. Between ~10-25 degrees tend to produce line drives. He posted a 30-day rolling launch angle chart that I can't find right now but illustrated Story's launch angle change very well. So that's mainly what I was referring to when I said he had sorted out his launch angle a bit, @handyandy86

 

So as I said in my initial post, I'm encouraged by that and I think there's a solid chance he puts up a very nice 2H. 

 

 

Edited by absknicks
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5 hours ago, absknicks said:

 

Sorry didn't have time to elaborate on this earlier so for anyone interested who wants a cliff notes version here's what I was referring to:

 

-Eno pointed out that prior to May 1 Story's average launch angle was about 40 degrees. That's essentially a can of corn flyball to the outfield. Ever since about June 1 he's been around 20 degrees in terms of average launch angle. Anything above 30 degrees is usually where the sharp drops in production occur. Between ~10-25 degrees tend to produce line drives. He posted a 30-day rolling launch angle chart that I can't find right now but illustrated Story's launch angle change very well. So that's mainly what I was referring to when I said he had sorted out his launch angle a bit, @handyandy86

 

So as I said in my initial post, I'm encouraged by that and I think there's a solid chance he puts up a very nice 2H. 

 

 

 

Thanks for the info.  I hadn't gone as far as a 30-day rolling chart, but in an earlier post here I mentioned that he went from a ridiculous 40-ish degree LA earlier in the year, which resulted in a 68.6% FB rate in April, all the way to around 20 degrees LA in June like you / Eno have pointed out.  The problem now is that he hit 41% grounders in June and only 36% FB rate.  

 

It's a positive that he's making changes to his swing since it wasn't working at all, but he's over-shot the sweet spot he had last season and is now hitting a lot of balls on the ground, and not enough in the air (for reference his 2016 FB% was about 47%).  If he can now increase his LA incrementally to find that sweet spot he might be onto something - but it's yet to be seen if or when he'll do that.  

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36% FB is for sue the sweet spot range.. Its the similar to Bour, Judge, Stanton, Lamb, Harper, JD Martinez etc etc. Its a high enough FB that guys with ideal launch angles can suceced. While not hitting too much in the air that may lower BABIP potential. I feel like most of the best hitters are between 35-42 range.

 

The main reason for Story's recent sup par performance has more to do with the fact he's not hitting the ball hard enough lately. He's around 27% since June started and last year he was at 44%. He's not gonna get away high K's if he can't hit the tits off the ball like he did last year.

 

The FB% itself is no red flag at all. Its only a red flag if u assume he's actually still trying to hit the way he did last year and no getting results. Indicating something is wrong.

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14 hours ago, Slatykamora said:

36% FB is for sue the sweet spot range.. Its the similar to Bour, Judge, Stanton, Lamb, Harper, JD Martinez etc etc. Its a high enough FB that guys with ideal launch angles can suceced. While not hitting too much in the air that may lower BABIP potential. I feel like most of the best hitters are between 35-42 range.

 

The main reason for Story's recent sup par performance has more to do with the fact he's not hitting the ball hard enough lately. He's around 27% since June started and last year he was at 44%. He's not gonna get away high K's if he can't hit the tits off the ball like he did last year.

 

The FB% itself is no red flag at all. Its only a red flag if u assume he's actually still trying to hit the way he did last year and no getting results. Indicating something is wrong.

 

I just don't think you can simplify it down to a one-size-fits-all approach.  A 36% FB rate might be the "sweet spot" for Judge or Stanton, but they also average 4-5 MPH higher exit velocities than Story.  They are also different hitters that hit for a better AVG than Story, meaning they don't sell out as much for HR power.  If Judge started putting the ball in the air 50% of the time he'd likely have more HR but a lower AVG.

 

When Story was successful in 2016 his FB% was 47%.  If that's what how many balls he had to hit in the air to get the HR totals he did, and his fantasy value/relevance is based mostly on HR, then 36% FB rate is going to give very diminished returns.  

 

The other scary thing is that when his FB rate went down to 36% the drop went almost all to his GB%, going up to 41.4%.  You'd think that if your launch angle was too high, and you made incremental changes to find that "sweet spot" that your excess FB would mostly turn into LD, but that's not the case with Story.  If you drop 10% FB rate straight into +10% GB that means you've over-corrected and now your launch angle is too low.

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You are looking at one side of the coin : His FB% is the reason he isn't the ball hard

 

While i'm seeing the other side: His FB may have declined because he's not ABLE to hit the ball hard as much.

 

I'm not saying you are right or wrong. I'm just showing you that more than one way to look at something that is legit.  Also that 36/41 FB/GB is  not bat at all as most of the best hitters are in that range or even better. The poster already said his launch angle recently is usually considered ideal. Maybe not for all..but its a typical/average thing.

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13 minutes ago, Slatykamora said:

You are looking at one side of the coin : His FB% is the reason he isn't the ball hard

 

While i'm seeing the other side: His FB may have declined because he's not ABLE to hit the ball hard as much.

 

I'm not saying you are right or wrong. I'm just showing you that more than one way to look at something that is legit.  Also that 36/41 FB/GB is  not bat at all as most of the best hitters are in that range or even better. The poster already said his launch angle recently is usually considered ideal. Maybe not for all..but its a typical/average thing.

 

Well Hard% is directly calculated from hang time, location, and trajectory (LA), so in that sense I do think Hard% is reduced by him hitting fewer FB.  Hard% isn't calculated or measured using exit velocity like Statcast measures, so it doesn't matter how fast the ball exits his bat, if it is hit at the ground it is recorded as Soft (or maybe Med).  In terms of exit velocity though I think you're on the right track - his AVG EV is going down steadily.  Now I don't necessarily think that decreases FB% (I can hit a FB of a tee with an EV of 50 MPH if I swing with enough LA), but it is a disturbing trend.

 

Below are Story's AVG Launch Angles and AVG Exit Velocities over various time periods.  @absknicks is right that his LA recently (like, last week before ASB) settled in at a more ideal number, but it has been as high as 32.3 degrees and as low as 8.1 degrees, which tells me he's searching and not really feeling it.  His AVG EV is also steadily dropping, which is very concerning:

 

Month of April 2016- 17.8 deg / 91.1 MPH

2016 Season -          16.7 deg / 90.2 MPH

Month of April -         32.3 deg / 89.5 MPH

Month of May -         21.4 deg / 90.3 MPH

Week of June 5th -   25.7 deg / 91.7 MPH

Week of June 12th - 15.4 deg / 88.2 MPH

Week of June 19th - 15.3 deg / 85.3 MPH

Week of June 26th -   8.1 deg / 85.7 MPH

Week of July 3rd -    18.7 deg / 84.3 MPH

 

If we take his 2016 season stats as the "ideal" Story results, it looks like his LA is starting to zero in on where it should be, but the fact that his EV is steadily and consistently dropping is a big red flag for me.  Is he hurt?  Or is he just not barreling up the ball as well as he searches through different swing paths to get that LA figured out?  I guess time will tell on that, but doesn't look so great.

 

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Am I the only guy who thinks this whole "launch angle" thing is kinda dumb? When you're trying to hit a fastball, you're just trying to make solid contact.

Whether it ends up being a line drive, fly ball, or even a hard grounder, "degrees of launch angle" isn't really something you're anywhere near in control of.

I mean, it's one thing to say, "stop getting under it and popping it up". But to say "reduce your launch angle by 5 degrees" seems pretty dumb.

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By the way, I don't think Valaika steals Story's job with his bat, even though he's been much better in that department. At SS, the glove is what would get Valaika the job. And from what I've seen, he's just as bad of a butcher as Story defensively.

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1 hour ago, Fiveohnine said:

By the way, I don't think Valaika steals Story's job with his bat, even though he's been much better in that department. At SS, the glove is what would get Valaika the job. And from what I've seen, he's just as bad of a butcher as Story defensively.

 

Story is not bad defensively at all... Is he Andrelton Simmons? No. Is he above average? Yes.  

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4 hours ago, Fiveohnine said:

By the way, I don't think Valaika steals Story's job with his bat, even though he's been much better in that department. At SS, the glove is what would get Valaika the job. And from what I've seen, he's just as bad of a butcher as Story defensively.

You've definitively proven you know nothing about shortstop defense, so stop commenting on it.

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4 hours ago, Fiveohnine said:

Am I the only guy who thinks this whole "launch angle" thing is kinda dumb? When you're trying to hit a fastball, you're just trying to make solid contact.

Whether it ends up being a line drive, fly ball, or even a hard grounder, "degrees of launch angle" isn't really something you're anywhere near in control of.

I mean, it's one thing to say, "stop getting under it and popping it up". But to say "reduce your launch angle by 5 degrees" seems pretty dumb.

 

I'm pretty sure guys like Alonso don't think launch angle is "dumb", who have reserected their careers because of it. 

 

You might not be able to control LA in 5 degree increments as easily, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand if you swing with more of an upper cut you're going to hit more FB, and therefore have a higher LA. 

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4 hours ago, Fiveohnine said:

Am I the only guy who thinks this whole "launch angle" thing is kinda dumb? When you're trying to hit a fastball, you're just trying to make solid contact.

Whether it ends up being a line drive, fly ball, or even a hard grounder, "degrees of launch angle" isn't really something you're anywhere near in control of.

I mean, it's one thing to say, "stop getting under it and popping it up". But to say "reduce your launch angle by 5 degrees" seems pretty dumb.

Yes and no. Without understanding what is causing the result, it's just a cool stat. A good hitting coach will take that info and go hunting through video to determine if it's really a mechanical issue, just bad timing, an injury thing, etc. 

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4 hours ago, tsh00k said:

Story is not bad defensively at all... Is he Andrelton Simmons? No. Is he above average? Yes.  

I'm not sure what fangraphs search you did to come up with this conclusion. But clearly you didn't get there by watching baseball. Story isn't a complete butcher as far as errors go. And there are few guys who are worse. But his range/arm are pretty far below average.

1 hour ago, handyandy86 said:

I'm pretty sure guys like Alonso don't think launch angle is "dumb", who have reserected their careers because of it. 

 

You might not be able to control LA in 5 degree increments as easily, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand if you swing with more of an upper cut you're going to hit more FB, and therefore have a higher LA. 

Swinging with an uppercut is about the dumbest thing you can ever do in baseball. Anyone who has ever played will tell you that. In fact, just go to a batting cage and swing with an uppercut to confirm this for yourself.

But you're right, it wouldn't take rocket science to know that in order for one moving object to have the greatest impact on another moving object, it's best for both objects to be moving the the exact opposite direction.

The angle at which the ball comes off the bat is almost exclusively from where the ball hits the bat. Not from swinging with an uppercut, which they tell you do avoid even in little league.

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1 hour ago, WahooManiac said:

Yes and no. Without understanding what is causing the result, it's just a cool stat. A good hitting coach will take that info and go hunting through video to determine if it's really a mechanical issue, just bad timing, an injury thing, etc. 

ok. I can see how launch angle info can help someone make adjustments and make better contact. But my point is that those adjustments would be the key to any improvements, not him getting into the batters box thinking "ok, I'm going to change my launch angle", the way fantasy baseballers talk about it here on rotoworld. That's obviously ridiculous.

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35 minutes ago, Fiveohnine said:

ok. I can see how launch angle info can help someone make adjustments and make better contact. But my point is that those adjustments would be the key to any improvements, not him getting into the batters box thinking "ok, I'm going to change my launch angle", the way fantasy baseballers talk about it here on rotoworld. That's obviously ridiculous.

 

The real question is why the distinction actually matters, other than in protecting your sensibilities. 

 

The obvious answer is the distinction is irrelevant to any of our fantasy purposes. Whether Story is approaching ABs with the intent to increase his launch angle or not, is immaterial when talking about the underlying facts that Story has made multiple adjustments to his swing and the results haven't been good. 

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You're right. Launch angle is completely irrelevant for fantasy baseball, as I imagine even the most bizarre OBP, holds, etc. leagues don't track it.

But if you're going to bother to talk about it, then you might as well talk about it correctly. 

Edited by Fiveohnine
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