Angels Prospect Interview: Chris Pettit

Put together the two sides of Chris Pettit's season between the Midwest and California Leagues and you have an incredible season with less than a month to go. We caught up with the outfielder to get his thoughts on the season to date.

With a combined .348 average with 61 extra base hits and 89 RBIs, Pettit is having as good a season as anyone in the minors.

You have had a tremendous season – what has been the key to the success.

Chris Pettit: I think the biggest key has been consistent at bats. I have been able to stay with the same approach as far as my hitting is concerned.

Do you feel like anything has changed? Last year you had a good year in Orem but there really hasn't been many lulls in your game this season between Cedar Rapids and Rancho Cucamonga.

Chris Pettit: I don't think much has changed. It has gotten easier to hit, actually. You weed out a lot of the Latin guys that don't have command of their pitches. It makes it a little bit easier to hit.

I noticed you have been hit by over 25 pitches between Orem and Cedar Rapids. I was beginning to think the pitchers just didn't like you.

Chris Pettit: There are guys who don't have the command and try and come in and they miss and hit you.

What has been the approach – it seems like you have also looked at things differently with runners in scoring position since your average jumps up even more in those situations.

Chris Pettit: I like to wait and be patient. I think that increased my chances with runners in scoring position. I am looking for a pitch I can drive, especially when there is a runner on third and less than two outs. I think it is to the hitters' advantage. The first pitch I see, I can drive into the outfield. I don't have to worry about getting a hit but doing my job to get the runner in.

You have nine homers in half as many games in Rancho – has anything changed to get a little extra loft or how do you explain the jump in the power numbers?

Chris Pettit: I think it is the same swing. Early in the year in the Midwest League the ball doesn't travel very far. I know that might contribute a little bit, especially when it is 20 degrees outside.

You have a good chunk of stolen bases this year. Has it been tough choosing your spots when you are hitting in the middle of the order and you want to let the guys behind you focus on their at bat and driving the ball?

Chris Pettit: Sometimes stealing bases actually makes it easier on the guy behind you. If you are on second with one out you can steal third and it makes it easier for the guy up to drive you in. If you get to second, they have a much easier chance to drive you in and generally see better pitches.

You have played all three outfield positions. What are the challenges of playing between the three and where are you most comfortable?

Chris Pettit: I am most comfortable in center because that is where you can get a true read on the ball. The ball doesn't start in one spot and end up in another where it might on the corners. I think that might be the hardest part of the corners – reading where the ball is going to go. The ball will tail away from you and you might have to turn around a little bit. The hardest balls in center are the ones hit right at you. Line drives – you don't want to go in and have it go over your head.

You mentioned weeding out some of the pitchers who lack command – is that the biggest difference you have seen between the Midwest League and California League?

Chris Pettit: I think that is more from Orem to the Midwest League. Last year we saw a lot of guys throwing real hard but not exactly knowing where the ball was going. It is not really comfortable – you don't get comfortable digging in the box and may swing at pitches you don't want to.

Coming up here I think the catchers and the defense. The defense is a lot better up here, especially the infield defense. They make plays that you are not used to guys making. The catchers block the ball better and throw the ball better.

Does that make you a little complacent in the outfield and almost force you to keep your head in the game a little more since some balls aren't getting to you that would in the past?

Chris Pettit: You almost have to force yourself on a ground ball that is more at someone to really try and go get it, even if it does not go by. There have been a few times when I have gone to get the ground ball and it does not even get to me. The infielder scoops it up.

What is the staple of Chris Pettit going forward since you have shown the power and the speed?

Chris Pettit: I think it is more of hitting line drives. If you hit line drives the home runs are going to come. If I try and lift the ball out of the park, I am probably going to roll over or just pop the ball up. I need to stay hitting line drives. That is where it is going to be at.

Moving forward, do you believe there is some area of your game that you need to work on?

Chris Pettit: I think there is always something I can work on. As we keep going, the guys are going to have better off-speed stuff so that will be an issue. I have been working real hard in the outfield with Bobby Mitchell, our manager, since he was an outfielder in the big leagues. I have been working on getting jumps and taking better routes.

What are the expectations for you heading into the stretch drive of the season?

Chris Pettit: I want to stay consistent in the approach and continue to hit hopefully. It is mostly about consistency I feel.

Have you met your expectations for this year?

Chris Pettit: A lot can go wrong in a month so...If I continue to hit like I am hitting I will be very happy with the season. I did not set any number expectations but just wanted to have a solid season all-around. So far I have done that.


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