MLB Projections: The 2020 batting champion could be…

GOODYEAR, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 23: Tim Anderson #7 of the Chicago White Sox bats against the Cincinnati Reds on February 23, 2020 at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)
GOODYEAR, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 23: Tim Anderson #7 of the Chicago White Sox bats against the Cincinnati Reds on February 23, 2020 at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /
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Colorado’s Trevor Story. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Colorado’s Trevor Story. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

MLB Projections: The 2020 batting champion could be…

2. Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies

He’s the best hitter on the Colorado Rockies? What more reason does Trevor Story need to be viewed as a plausible batting champion?

True, four seasons into his major league career Story’s never actually contended for a title. His .294 average of 2019 was his best yet.

But the data shows this guy can flat rake. Story’s hard-hit percentage ranks in the 87th percentile and his 90.9 mph exit velocity, 83rd percentile, isn’t far behind. At 29.2 feet per second sprint speed, he’s also fast enough to turn outs into hits. For the record, that’s the 95th percentile level.

Story’s credentials are only enhanced when he’s compared to similar players through history. Through his age 26 season, those comparables include Ernie Banks, Troy Tulowitzki and 2019 AL batting champion Tim Anderson.

As with any Rockies player, it’s always wise to check the home-road splits. In 2019, Story batted .328 at Coors Field but .260 on the road. That’s a potential problem. He also has to upgrade his performance against velocity. Story hit.298 against fastballs in 2019, a solid showing but hardly award-worthy. By contrast, he hit .337 against finesse pitchers.

Story’s chance is enhanced by his plate discipline. His 28.5 percent 2019 chase rate limits the ability of opposing pitchers to get him out off of the plate.