Trevor Story had to turn off his phone.
The day after the Colorado Rockies traded the face of the franchise – shortstop Troy Tulowitzki – to the Toronto Blue Jays, arguably the biggest trade in the organization’s relatively young history, the 22-year-old Story was bombarded with calls and text messages from well-meaning, but thoroughly distracting, acquaintances.
“There’s a lot of buzz going on about it,” said Story, the hot-hitting Albuquerque Isotopes prospect. “I pretty much just had to turn my phone off and just focus on what I need to focus on. If I take care of what I need to, good things will happen.”
Story, who was 1-for-5 at the plate Tuesday night in the Isotopes’ 7-6 win over the visiting Salt Lake Bees, knows that the trade of Tulowitzki, whom he calls a mentor, ultimately doesn’t mean a thing if he doesn’t continue his progression in the minor leagues.
Yes, there is growing buzz. Social media would tell you plenty of Rockies fans have an expectation of Story being called up very soon (instead, Isotopes teammate and PCL All-Star Cristhian Adames got the call up Tuesday).
His phone filled up with plenty of variations of “Hey, what’s happening?” texts and voice mails.
Even his hometown Dallas Morning News posted on its website an article with the headline, “Tulowitzki trade paves way for Irving grad Trevor Story in Rockies organization.”
But for Story, who donned a Transformers logo across his chest for the ‘Topes T-shirt batting practice, really just wanted Tuesday to be about being thankful for Tulowitzki’s influence and maintaining some sense of normalcy.
Story, who learned of the trade while watching ESPN’s “SportsCenter” on Monday night, said Tulowitzki made things easy on him since he was selected by the Rockies in the first round (No. 45 overall) of the 2011 MLB amateur draft.
“Our bond definitely grew,” Story said. “He reached out to me since Day 1. He’s been nothing but very helpful and supportive of me, even though we do play the same position. He helped me a lot in my development. I learned a lot of stuff from him. I was really honored to be in a position to learn from him, from a guy like that. Just really valued my time with him.”
Story opted to turn pro in 2011 instead of moving on from Irving High School to play shortstop for the LSU Tigers, where the next year Albuquerque’s Alex Bregman (last month’s No. 2 overall draft pick of the Houston Astros) eventually became a three-year star shortstop.
Thanks to Tulowitzki’s help, at least in some small part, Story has developed into a player now likely to indeed get a chance to replace the five-time National League All-Star on a permanent basis.
Story hit .281 with 10 home runs and 40 RBIs in 69 games for Double-A New Britain to start the season before getting the call to Triple-A Albuquerque. In 22 games with the Isotopes, he has hit .277 with six home runs and 16 RBIs. He also played in the Futures Game for baseball’s top prospects July 12 and Monday was named the PCL Player of the Week.
“Since I’ve come up here, I feel like I’ve been playing really well,” Story said. “… I feel like I’m where I need to be. Day in and day out, I keep getting better and keep progressing.”