There’s an unwritten rule that players must pay their dues before they can enter the Gold Glove conversation. After several years of elite performances in the field, Trevor Story’s name is finally becoming a mainstay in the talks.

All of the additional work and focus that the shortstop has put into his craft is paying off. While the award still won’t be handed out until November, Story is aiming to have his named finally mentioned with teammate Nolan Arenado as the league’s best.

The two, manning the left side of the infield, have become a force in the field. The impact is similar to their predecessors.

Among the departed members of the franchise, both Troy Tulowitzki and DJ LeMahieu also played a role in an organization that refuses to rest on their laurels with the leather. The two combined to win five Gold Gloves with the organization between 2010 and 2018. With Arenado, that hardware total balloons to 11.

As the “rule” goes though, an award is hardly expected early on. Tulowitzki waited four years, while LeMahieu had a three-year drought to begin his career.

Of the trio, the only one that didn’t wait was Arenado who has served as a fielding outlier throughout his whole career. He became the first infielder in league history to win six straight Gold Gloves to begin his career.

In the clubhouse, the two – both Story and Arenado – have their lockers right next to each other. The values passed between the pair of infielders has played a large role.

Just seeing (Arenado) every day and how it goes about his business, it’s very intense,” Story said. “I think when it comes to the game, he’s already made all those plays and he feels comfortable doing it. I’ve learned so much from him and he probably doesn’t even know it.” 

Mentoring from the league’s best is only a part of the drive. Even before he was drafted, Story’s mantra of being an all-around player was intact.

“That’s been a goal of mine since I could remember,” Story said. “I want to be a complete player and focus on every part of the game equally. This game is about hitting a lot, but I think it goes unnoticed (with) the guys that do both. I pride myself on trying to be one of those guys.”

The one obstacle in front of Story now is last year’s winner, Nick Ahmed.

As part of the rival Arizona Diamondbacks, Ahmed has become one of the headline-worthy middle infielders in the league. Currently, he leads the entire league in defensive wins above replacement (WAR) at 2.4.

Outside of WAR, the two stack up rather similarly:

Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference

Last season, Story wasn’t even named a runner-up for the award. He fell short of Ahmed and both Freddy Galvis and Brandon Crawford in the race.

Each year, a first-time winner is likely going to lead the conversation the next year as well. In the last two decades, a shortstop for the NL has won consecutive awards seven respective times.

While Ahmed leads the pack, Story’s hunger for the award is at an all-time high. In the offseason and during the year, he’s refused to stop his chase.

“The work that they put in in spring training and even the daily practice we do once the season starts… you know it’s the dog days and you might be a little worn down – our guys still work,” Bud Black said. “I think that type of work reflects the type of players these guys are on the field.”

Even with his pursuit, hardware for each of the Rockies’ infielders would be a best-case scenario for Story.

“We work really hard as an infield and we pride ourselves on getting the balls that others might not be able to get to,” Story said. “We want to be the best infield in the league.”