Rockies prospect Jon Gray admits he doesn't know that his teammate won the batting title
Rockies right-handed pitchers Jon Gray and Eddie Butler, both 23 and highly regarded prospects, are throwing partners and practically inseparable buddies during Spring Training. But they are opposites when it comes to being baseball fans.
Butler, who made three starts last season, follows the stars and stats with the zeal of a young baseball card collector or a Hot Stove-oriented fan. Meanwhlie, Gray, who has yet to make his big league debut, admits he has a hard time watching the game. This difference led to some good-natured ribbing between the two this week, when Gray asked Butler a couple of days ago, "What kind of hitter is Morneau?"
That would be the Rockies' Justin Morneau, who happens to be the defending National League batting champ.
"I pay attention to what's going on in the league -- especially in my own organization, when guys are fighting for batting titles, MVPs, Gold Gloves," Butler said with a snort and a laugh.
Gray said he went to a few Royals games when his youth teams would play tournaments in Kansas, but otherwise watched "maybe two or three games all the way to the ninth inning in my entire life on television." So he isn't one to study box scores or stories. Gray noted that maybe it's better that way, because he's never in awe.
Most of what Gray knows about baseball comes from playing. And although he couldn't tell you that Morneau hit .319 last season, Gray learned first-hand why Morneau, a veteran first baseman who won the American League MVP award with the Twins, is capable of such big numbers. Last spring, after Gray was sent to Minor League camp, Morneau came down for extra at-bats and smoked line drives on everything Gray threw.
"I was wondering how he was doing this, every pitch, even if it's a good one," Gray said. "He came to me after he was done and told me, 'You need to watch your glove. I can tell when you're throwing an off-speed pitch or fastball because your glove looks different.' I was like, wow, that's good advice. I wish he would've told me that before.
"But that means more than knowing the stats."