Written by Corbett Smith
Meet Irving's Trevor Story: The shortstop who attracted 28 scouts to a practice this season
IRVING — It’s not uncommon to see baseball players goofing around during practice.
The weather’s nice, it’s a long season, and generally there’s enough down time to get something silly started with your teammates.
Irving coach Jay Malone said that happens far less during his practices.
“When they take the field, it’s serious,” Malone said.
In large part, the reason is shortstop Trevor Story — or rather, the entourage of pro scouts who congregate in his wake.
“It’s definitely more serious,” Story said. “I think everyone cuts that stuff out when people are watching you.”
The 6-1, 180-pound Story is one of two area high school players — along with Jesuit centerfielder Josh Bell — projected by Baseball America to be among the top 50 picks in June’s major league draft.
And when he plays, practices or even scrimmages, scouts come to watch.
Malone has counted as many as 28 scouts at one of Irving’s practices, lined up along the left-field fence like “toads on a log,” he said.
While it’s raised the level of intensity, it hasn’t rattled the team, according to Story — who signed with LSU in November — and fellow senior Jeff Stovall, a pitcher who signed with Nebraska.
The serious tone of practice was put in place before either of them hit campus.
In 2007, Malone’s first year, pitcher Blake Beavan attracted similar attention. The Rangers drafted him with the 17th overall pick that summer.
“What I tell all of our guys is that you never know who’s going to see you,” Malone said. “And it might be a pro scout, who has a buddy that’s a college coach that asks him, ‘hey, have you seen anybody?’ ‘Yeah, there’s this third baseman who swings the bat pretty well.’ They might be out here for Trevor, but you never know who’ll be watching.”
A three-year starter, Story has been Malone’s No. 3 hitter since his sophomore season. This year, he is having one of the best seasons of any player in the area, batting .488 with 20 extra-base hits and 11 steals, despite opponents pitching around him.
“He plays a big role in everything that we do,” Malone said. “You could say he’s our mainstay.”
Story is a pitching prospect as well — he hit 96 mph on the radar last summer at a player showcase at TCU — yet Malone has been hesitant to pull him off the field.
Story made only one relief appearance this season.
“I miss being out there on the bump sometimes, but coach wants me to be out there every day,” he said.
Along with college-bound pitchers Stovall and Garrett Sumpter (Murray State), Story helped propel Irving to a second-place finish in a tough District 6-5A, one game behind Hurst L.D. Bell, which features Oklahoma signee Hunter Lockwood.
Irving (21-8-1) opens its Class 5A bi-district series Thursday against Mansfield Legacy.
“One of the best season’s we’ve ever had,” Stovall said. “We’ve been together since we were little. We’re all close, and we have really good chemistry.”
Story doesn’t know if he’ll sign a pro contract or go to LSU, but he’s not anxious. Instead, he said he’s focused on his team’s playoff run.
“I wouldn’t say I’m nervous,” he said. “I’m excited. We’ll just have to wait and see where I’ll end up.”