I recently had the great pleasure of interviewing Los Angeles Angels' rising star outfielder Chris Pettit. Pettit made his MLB debut this season where he batted .286. I personally expect to see Pettit become a starter for the Angels in the near future.
Chris and I talked about his MLB debut, his former university, Loyola Marymount, Mike Scioscia, and much, much more.
Steven Merriam: Who has had the biggest impact in your baseball career?
Chris Pettit: I would say my dad because when I was younger he'd always take me out, work with me, and he always any time I wanted to play or anything, he was always there for me.
SM: Who were your favorite players growing up?
CP: Growing up my favorite players were Darin Erstad, Jim Edmonds, and Mike Piazza.
SM: You, Jeff Stevens, Billy Traber, Josh Whitesell, and C.J. Wilson all attended Loyola Marymount University. Why do you think the university had such MLB success?
CP: I think it's a solid program, you know we always play against real good competition, anywhere in Southern California, you always have the chance to go on and play at the next level. The guys work hard, and it's a good place to go to school and play baseball.
SM: You were born in California and are a member of the Angels. How rewarding is it to be playing so close to home?
CP: It's like a dream come true playing close to home, it was the stadium I've been going to since I was a kid, it's a completely different feeling being out in that stadium.
SM: Which current or former MLB player do you believe plays most similarly to the way you do?
CP: I really like the way Torii Hunter plays and goes about his business. I don't know if it's similar to me exactly but I like the way he plays and goes about his business and really anyone that plays hard.
SM: Speaking of Hunter, has he been a mentor to you?
CP: Yeah, he's real nice to me and the other guys, he takes care of us and shows you the ropes a little bit. He doesn't care that were really young, he likes to have a good time and pretty much treats us as equals.
SM: You have hit amazingly in the minors batting .313. What do you think makes you such a good hitter?
CP: I've been trying to be patient and wait for a pitch. I think my approach has kept me fairly consistent with waiting for a good pitch to hit. I also think another big thing is the amount of work I put in the cages. I like to put in a lot of work and if I can get a good pitch to hit then I should be able to continue doing that.
SM: Who is the toughest pitcher you have ever faced?
CP: I would say Tim Lincecum or Tommy Hanson, both of those guys are pretty good. I faced Lincecum in the Cape and in Spring Training, and he has a nasty curve ball. Hanson I faced in the Fall League, not this past offseason but the offseason before. He was a really good pitcher; he just knew had to pitch with a real good slider.
SM: How great did it feel to make your MLB debut this season?
CP: It was awesome, especially being at home. It was front of a lot of people I knew, and that was really cool. My parents were able to be there, my sister.
SM: Your manager, Mike Scioscia is currently the reigning AL Manager of the Year, how great is it to have him as a manager?
CP: He treats the players real well so I enjoy playing for him. He's real low-key, but he wants you to go by your business the right way. I think that's good in helping you grow as a player.
SM: The Angels won the AL West this season, do you expect the team to repeat next season?
CP: I think you always have to go into the season expecting to repeat, so I would say yes.
SM: What would you like to see the front office do this offseason?
CP: I think they're doing a good job and working on putting together a team for next year. There's going to be some new pieces obviously, and they will be doing their part in putting the best players on the field.
SM: How do you feel about the Hideki Matsui signing?
CP: He's a good ball player, he should help out the team you know he hit amazingly in the playoffs and should be a good addition to the ball club.
SM: Do you like the offseason or can you smell the grass in Arizona for Spring Training?
CP: I like the offseason, it's nice to get a little break, but around the holidays you kind of start to get the itch to go back and get back and play again.
SM: What are your goals for the upcoming season?
CP: In the upcoming season I look to be consistent and have good at bats consistently, that's the biggest thing I think. The numbers will come if I can have good at bats and be consistent.
Thanks a lot to Chris for doing this. Baseball fans, remember the name Chris Pettit, he will play a key role for the Angels this season.
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