Michael Cuddyer despises compromise. He runs the bases like a badger is in pursuit. He doesn't wear eye-black patches or even the grease. He collects wine corks burns the tips and draws ash below his lids a technique he learned from former teammate Jim Thome.

He is rigidly ethical rooted in routines. It explains why he is in position to become the first Rockies player to win a National League batting title since Carlos Gonzalez in 2010. The idea that Cuddyer would accomplish this feat at age 34 and after hitting .260 last season strains the imagination.

He has never batted higher than .284 and entered this year his second with the Rockies with a .271 lifetime average. Coors Field provides a boost in average but it hardly explains why Cuddyer is enjoying a career star burst.
This goes back to the eye charcoal to the root of who Cuddyer is. Familiarity breeds results.

"It takes a while to get used to the new league. It's quite an adjustment" Cuddyer said.

That seems odd because of his experience in interleague play and All-Star Games. But Cuddyer's strengths are what we don't see behind the curtain. He outworks other players in batting practice. He studies countless videos of pitchers. He asked for a library of footage when he signed with the Rockies trying to accelerate his learning curve against the arms he'd face in the National League West. And yet he didn't produce like expected.

He produced extra-base hits at his usual rate but he made outs with alarming regularity. His .317 on-base percentage was his lowest in 10 years.