Make no mistake about it. Jon Gray of the Colorado Rockies is not a fan of the designated hitter coming to the National League in 2020.
In a roundtable interview on Wednesday morning, I asked Jon Gray for his thoughts on the DH debuting as part of the National League’s fabric for the 2020 campaign. The Colorado Rockies starting pitcher was quick to pull out a history lesson in his answer.
"“I’m not a fan of it,” Gray said. “If it was up to me, I would take baseball back to the way it was in the 1940s through the ’60s and play that over again.”"
As a note, the American League implemented the designated hitter into the lineup in the 1973 season. Thanks in part to a condensed season and shortened reboot of spring training, this will mark the first season since then that a universal DH will be used in both the AL and NL.
Since debuting with the Rockies on August 4, 2015, Gray has 231 plate appearances under his belt. The 28-year-old right-hander has logged a .087/.136/.123 slash line in his time at the dish. In all, he has 17 hits, including four doubles and one mammoth home run against the Cincinnati Reds in 2017.
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While Gray may not step back into the batter’s box again in 2020, he chuckled when he talked about the role at the plate usually reserved for the pitcher.
"“It will be something different for us, but I am going to miss getting in the box,” Gray said. “I actually got pretty fired up from getting my bunt down so I’m going to miss that too.”"
Of course, the Rockies are counting on Gray more for his pitching than his hitting, whether that’s in 2020 or any other season. Coming off an injury-shortened campaign where he went 11-8 with a 3.84 ERA in 26 games (25 starts), Gray has confidence that Colorado’s buzzed-about rotation (led by Kyle Freeland, German Marquez, and Gray) will be much improved in 2020. Last year, that trio combined to post a 5.23 ERA as injuries and inconsistencies haunted them.
"“I think we’re going to be a heck of a lot better,” Gray said. “I don’t think that the weight that we necessarily feel our shoulders to do so good or whatever, I don’t think that’s come out of nowhere. I think we’ve earned that and I think it’s something that we should live up to. All the high expectations, I think that we can beat them.”"