Last week, I detailed on why you should trade for Alejandro Kirk in your dynasty leagues. Kirk was consistent all year round, and I expect more of the same in the future. Today, I'm doing a complete 180 on the consistency spectrum to tell you about another great 2023 Dynasty Baseball Trade Target: Trevor Story.
One of the biggest free agents of last year's offseason, Story was paid as such with a 6-year, $140 million deal with the Boston Red Sox to be the everyday second baseman for the Red Sox.
While many people predicted a slow start for Story, as he left the hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field, almost nobody predicted Story's miserably slow start to the 2022 campaign. Story, who had welcomed a baby in March and missed most of Spring Training as a result, failed to hit a homer in all of April last year. It was fair to be concerned as both a Red Sox fan and a fantasy manager, as Story had yet to provide return on his 3rd-4th round draft status.
However, players the caliber of Trevor Story don't struggle forever. Story's track record of being a rare power/speed combination as a middle infielder finally came to fruition in May of 2022. Story blasted nine homers in a three week span, including this grand slam to spark an incredible three homer, five runs scored, and a stolen base game. This fantastic stat line was the third such game in MLB history, as Story joined Eric Davis and Yoenis Cespedes as the only players to accomplish this feat.
This game, and ultimately the month of May got Story back on track, and he finished with 16 homers and 13 stolen bases in an injury-shortened season, playing just 94 games.
GRAND SLAM TREVOR STORY. pic.twitter.com/O1pISDAxUi
— Red Sox (@RedSox) May 21, 2022
2023 Dynasty Baseball Trade Target: Trevor Story
If Story was so inconsistent in 2022, why should you trade for him?
When assembling a fantasy squad, there are two main things I look for when picking players with high upside. These two things are power and speed, which Story has tantalizing amounts of.
In 2018, Story blasted 37 homers while swiping 27 bags. In 2019 Story went for 35 long balls with 23 steals. He also led the NL with 15 steals in 2020, and was back at it with another 20/20 season in 2021. Even in the inconsistent and injury-shortened 2022 where Story toed the Mendoza Line for a large part of the season, he had a 162 game average of 27 long balls and 22 steals.
That's five years of productive power/speed seasons from Story. There is no reason to doubt a sixth year of this variety in 2023, as Story gets more acclimated to Boston and (hopefully) can stay healthy.
Another possible explanation for Story's slow start to 2022 was the change of position. Normally a shortstop, Story had to sacrifice some focus on hitting to learn how to play second base, as current Free Agent Xander Bogaerts had shortstop locked up last year.
Safe to say the switch went pretty well.
Trevor Story leads all second baseman this season with 7 defensive runs saved.
He also ranks in the 95th percentile for Outs Above Average.
— Tyler Milliken ⚾️ (@tylermilliken_) June 19, 2022
Who will you have to give up in a trade for Story?
Story is still relatively young, having just turned 30. He provides big power and speed numbers in a weak second base spot. He's all set to return to the 30 home run/20 stolen base standard he's set for himself. With this resume, you're probably thinking that he'll cost a couple of your solid arms along with a top prospect or two you have stashed in your dynasty league.
However, Story's public perception is still the guy with a subpar first half of 2022 before he fractured his wrist. CBS Sports recently ranked every fantasy second baseman, and despite placing Story fith, they had a very negative analysis of him. This could mitigate Story's return value to a couple mid-level prospects and arms, as opposed to the top trade value suggested by his stats.
"A spiking strikeout rate prevented Story from making the most of Fenway Park, where -- let's face it -- he was never going to see as much BABIP benefit as at Coors Field. Injuries may have hampered his production as well, but we're to the point where you have to factor in some batting average risk along with the power and speed."
Yes, Story strikes out a lot. His Baseball Savant page will tell you that his K% is only in the sixth percentile. Despite the CBS Sports analysis, this shouldn't deter you from targeting Story as a league-winning trade in your league. The hit to Story's point total by his strikeouts is offset by the unlimited potential for homers and steals.
How will this offseason impact Story/s fantasy value?
If you've been following the off-season rumors at all, the Red Sox are surely a team on your radar. All-Star shortstop Xander Bogaerts is a Free Agent, and Vegas has the Red Sox has only the third shortest odds for the team he'll call home in 2023. If Bogaerts is out of Boston, the future of superstar third baseman Rafael Devers in Boston is uncertain.
In @JimBowdenGM’s mailbag, a fan asked if his team could trade for Rafael Devers. Bowden’s response:
“This is not happening. Devers isn’t going anywhere. At some point, the Red Sox will sign him to a 10-year, $300-plus million deal.” pic.twitter.com/rB8yWj11wz
— Boston Sports Gordo (@BOSSportsGordo) November 21, 2022
While this tweet contrasts my earlier statement about Devers possibly being traded, the fact that Devers is being considered as a trade target for teams should raise some eyebrows in Boston. It is very possible that Devers demands a trade if the Red Sox struggle yet again, leaving the newly signed Story as the lone All-Star caliber player left in that lineup.
If one or even both of these players are gone, Story's production may dip again in 2023. A lineup devoid of Bogaerts and Devers means that Story will lack protection in the lineup. An example of this was in Washington, where Juan Soto lacked protection in his lineup for the first half of 2022. This led to fewer hittable pitches thrown to Soto, resulting in fewer hits and homers. The nightmare scenario for Story ends in this fate.
As shown over the last half-decade, Trevor Story is a special player. Even in his "worst" year, Story still puts up stats like this:
Trevor Story’s ‘22 stats adjusted to 162 games:
27 HR, 28 SB, 4.3 bWAR, 10 DRS
Watch out for a monster ‘23 season https://t.co/dieUfE0Gzp
— 🎙Not Another Sox Podcast🎙 (@NASPpodcast) November 15, 2022
Now is the perfect time to buy low on Story, who's trade value has never been lower. Story's potential to be among the league leaders in homers and stolen bases make him arguably the top fantasy option at second, even though he's viewed as a fringe top 5 fantasy second baseman. If you are able to swing that big trade for Story, don't be surprised when he's your league winner.
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