Q&A with former Phillies Minor Leaguer Eric Pettis

Eric Pettis was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2010 draft and spent two seasons in the organization, going from Williamsport in 2010 to Lakewood and Clearwater in 2011. Unfortunately, he was recently released, so he is hoping to latch onto a new team to continue his career. In the meantime, he will be publicizing his book, “Just A Minor Perspective: Through the Eyes of a Minor League Rookie“. Pettis provides a first-person account of the good and the bad that a Minor Leaguer goes through, a perspective surprisingly missing, even in the age of blogs and social media.

The minor leagues are largely misunderstood, more well known for the players who have skipped through their ranks than the ones who reside in them. They’re a mysterious land of hotels, bus rides, and clubhouses. Upon being drafted out of UC Irvine by the Phillies, right-handed pitcher Eric Pettis didn’t quite know what he was getting himself into.

Just A Minor Perspective allows readers to jump into Eric’s mind and experience the journey along with him. The narrative resembles stream-of-consciousness as he describes the good, the bad, and the ugly of the minor leagues as it hits him square in the face for the first time.

Eric gives an honest, pointed, and often humorous account of what he feels when he’s feeling it. Just A Minor Perspective is a gripping story of one man’s attempt to find his place in a new world; a scramble to conquer the first rung of the professional baseball ladder.

Pettis was kind enough to take a few questions for us. Check out the questions after the jump and be sure to grab his book and follow him on Twitter (@Eric_Pettis).

1. You were selected by the Phillies in the 2010 draft and recently released during spring training. How did you enjoy your two years in the Phillies’ system?

My two years with the Phillies taught me a lot. There are so many new things to experience in the minor leagues and it can sometimes become overwhelming. Like any professional player in their first two years, I took my fair share of punches. But now I that I know what to expect, things will be easier to handle and hopefully now I can throw out a few punches of my own.

2. What do you do to stay in shape during the off-season, in terms of exercise routines, diet, etc.?

The offseason is really a time for me to obsess over the process. During the season, results are what matter. But in the offseason, when there are no games to be played, I focus on the minute details. Diet and exercise is always very important to me and during the offseason I can really focus on them. I get into a strict diet, counting every calorie and being cognizant of everything that is going into my body. And with a proper diet, I can hit the gym hard. In the offseason I like to do heavy strength training, pushing my body to its limits and building as much strength as I can. My goal in the offseason is to create a good foundation going into the long physically taxing season.

3. What are your personal goals for the 2012 season?

My first goal for the 2012 season is to get picked up by another club, hopefully that will happen soon. When I do get picked up, my goals will be the same as they have been ever since I entered professional baseball: to get better everyday and move up the organizational ladder.

4. You are beginning a baseball career in an era where there is a wealth of information. Do you make use of statistics? If so, which ones, and how do you apply them?

I think stats are for the analysts. As a player it’s fun to check them every now and then, but I don’t think that stats can help you on the field. When I am on the mound, all that I’m trying to do is execute pitches. If I do a good job, then my stats will reflect that.

5. Which baseball players did you most idolize growing up? Which current players, if any, do you try to model yourself after?

Growing up I loved watching guys like Ken Griffey Jr. and Pedro Martinez. They were guys who had unique talents but also knew how to entertain. I’ve always liked guys that carried themselves with a little swagger and those two certainly did. But as a player, I try not to fall into the trap of modeling myself after anyone. I feel like it’s a slippery slope that you tread on when you try to play like someone else. Using similar ideas or philosophies is OK, but when you model your game after another player, you can lose who you are. Everyone is unique and not everything that works for someone else will work for you. I try to be the best me and thats it.

6. If you could change one thing about the way the Minor Leagues are run, what would you change?

There are many things that need changing…Maybe in my next book.

7. What advice would you give to a youngster who aspires to be a professional ballplayer?

I would tell any youngster aspiring to be a professional ballplayer to enjoy the process. It’s a long hard road to reach your dreams and if you can’t have fun along the way then it’s really not worth it. Baseball is called a game for a reason. Put in the work, have the dedication and the discipline, but enjoy it.

. . .

Many thanks to Eric for taking some time out of his schedule to answer a few questions for us. Hopefully, he is able to sign on with a new team sooner rather than later, and continue a promising baseball career. Make sure to snag his book, “Just A Minor Perspective: Through the Eyes of a Minor League Rookie” and give him a follow on Twitter (@Eric_Pettis).

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