Ben Zobrist may not be a household name. But all he’s done since 2008 is prove that he’s one of the most valuable players in all of Major League Baseball. By some statistical measures he was the best position player between 2009 and 2012 when he starred for the Tampa Bay Rays. This summer the Kansas City Royals acquired him from Oakland in the hopes that he would lead them to their first World Series title since 1985. Now 34 years old, Zobrist becomes a free agent in the offseason, when he’s expected to earn a lucrative long-term contract.

Earlier this month Zobrist and I met at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City before his Royals played the Detroit Tigers. Rare is the professional baseball player equally comfortable talking about how bullpen depth has changed hitting as he is explaining why J. C. Ryle’s Five English Reformers is his favorite recent read. We talked about his own 2014 book, Double Play: Faith and Family First (B&H), co-written with his wife, Julianna, along with Mike Yorkey. Julianna, a Christian pop singer and mother to their two young children, never spends more than six days apart from Ben despite his rigorous six-month travel schedule during the season. Their love story unfolds over the course of the book.

Listen as Ben Zobrist talks with me about growing up the son of a pastor, confronting the depth of his sinful pride, planning for life after baseball, and more.