4:57pm: Story says that he will have surgery and expects to miss the rest of the season, as MLB.com’s Thomas Harding tweets.
4:06pm: The Rockies have placed shortstop Trevor Story on the 15-day DL with a torn UCL in his left thumb, the club announced. It’s a major blow to the outside chances the team had of making a run to the postseason in 2016.
Rafael Ynoa has been recalled to take Story’s place on the roster, but there’s little chance he’ll replicate the 23-year-old’s production. Colorado has received top-level production from Story, who was a well-regarded but (it now seems) under-hyped prospect before making his major league debut this year.
[Related: Updated Rockies Depth Chart]
Story had an amazing start to the year and really hasn’t looked back. All told, he owns a .272/.341/.567 batting line with a league-leading 27 long balls over 415 plate appearances. Even after adjusting for the effects of Coors Field, that’s about twenty percent better than league average in total offensive productivity.
Though he has racked up 130 strikeouts, that’s plenty forgivable given the quality of the contact Story is delivering when he does make contact. (Let’s just say he keeps good company in that regard.) And the well-struck balls also give hope that he can maintain something near his current .343 BABIP. Defensive metrics are split as to whether Story is slightly above-average (DRS) or below-average (UZR) with the glove, but combined view him generally as a mid-range defender at short.
This particular injury isn’t uncommon, and hasn’t generally seemed to pose major future obstacles to the players that have it. But it may well keep Story out for the rest of the year. Andrelton Simmons recently missed two months after having surgery for his own thumb UCL tear, and that kind of timeline would push right up against the end of the regular season.
Going without Story for most (if not all) of the rest of the season is going to put a big dent in Colorado’s chances of sticking in the NL West and Wild Card race. The club just held tight at the trade deadline, forgoing chances to sell veteran assets after a recent run of quality play had moved the team to within a game of .500. But even as their division and Wild Card rivals all made important additions in recent days, the Rockies will now go without one of their most productive players.