Q&A with former Phillies minor leaguer Eric Pettis
by Scott Butler 6/10/12

Eric Pettis

Eric Pettis is accustomed to facing challenges. As a 35th round draft pick in 2010 by the Phillies out of UC Irvine, Pettis quickly proved he belonged with an 8-0 record and 1.37 ERA in his first season at Williamsport. In 2011, Eric moved up to Lakewood and later to Clearwater, posting a career minor league record of 10-3 with a 2.17 ERA. With such solid numbers, it came as a big surprise when the Phillies recently released the 23-year-old.

Pettis is clearly not averse to roadblocks like the one he currently faces, as he already took on the challenge of becoming an author and published his first book, Just a Minor Perspective: Through the Eyes of a Minor League Rookie. To give you my brief sportsbook review, Just a Minor Perspective, chronicles his his first year of minor league ball at Williamsport. He brings to life the seldom examined minor league experience in a way few have.

Pettis invites us inside his head through the exciting, frightening, and oftentimes mundane life of a minor leaguer. We travel alongside the right-hander to experience the surreal world of hotels, bus rides, and bright lights. His frank and candid perspective allows readers to experience his feelings, thoughts, and emotions as if they were our own. Pettis allows us to stand beside him on the mound through his attempt to live out the American Dream.

We were lucky enough to get Eric to answer a few questions to expand on the book and update us on his status. For me personally, it was an enjoyable sportsbook reviewBefore you leave, don't forget to buy a copy of his book.

Let's start with the bad news that you were released by the Phillies organization at the beginning of the season. How did you find out and what was your reaction?

On one of the last days Spring Training I was brought into the front office and told that the Phillies were no longer in need of my services. I was in utter shock. In fact, I think I gave out a little chuckle when I first found out. I wasn’t angry, I just couldn’t believe that this was the decision that they had come to. I think a lot of people that follow the Phillies system closely felt the same way.

With a career 2.17 ERA in the minors, there must be interest from other organizations. What happens now? Any idea how long before you join a new team?

Right now it’s just a waiting game. My decision not to go the Independent ball route has, quite honestly, reduced my chances of getting picked up by another affiliated club. But I am content with that decision and am beginning to explore other options in my life. If I end up getting a call then that’s great and I still believe that I am a Major Leaguer. If I don’t, then that's ok too.

What have you been up to in the meantime? How have you been preparing yourself to be ready when you finally do get that call?

On the baseball side of things, I have been working out every day, staying in shape, and throwing every now and then. I have been promoting my book, scouring the job market, and studying to take the LSAT later this month.

Let's shift our focus now to your other career as an author. How did the book come alive and what was involved in putting it all together?

From the time I entered the minors I have been writing a blog about my experiences. This past off season I decided that it would be fun to combine everything that happened during my first season into a complete narrative. I wrote the whole thing in two months, sent it off to my family and friends to edit it, and then self-published it to the ebook format. It was a great learning experience and a great sense of accomplishment when it was done.

What I enjoyed most about the book was getting inside the head of a minor leaguer. What do you hope fans take away from the book?

I really want fans to feel like they were experiencing what I experienced in my first year. Making the transition from amateur to professional baseball is such a new, exciting, awkward, and challenging time. If readers can get just a little taste of that, then I’ve done my job.

Your book covers your first season with the Phillies' Class A short season affiliate in Williamsport. Since then you've moved up to Lakewood (class A) and Clearwater (class A advanced). Have you noticed a difference in talent?

Yes. There is a definite jump in talent each level. If you are not adapting as a player from level to level and from game to game then you will get passed by. While each level might not be more difficult, per se, it certainly forces you to become a smarter, more consistent player that minimizes your worst and maximizes your best.

As minor leaguer, your main concern is obviously just getting to the big leagues. How much did you pay attention to the major league Phillies team?

You pay less attention than you’d think. Most of the time you are playing games at the same time as the big club so it’s hard to watch a lot of games. But I’d check the box score occasionally. Honestly, I found myself a lot more concerned with the team that was the level above me. Your goal is to make it to the big leagues, but your not going to make the jump from A-ball. Taking that next step up was always my main concern.

You had a chance to play in a few Spring Training games with the Phillies. What was that like? Did any players leave a lasting impression on you?

Playing in those Spring Training games was my best experience with the Phillies. Just to get a chance to mingle with guys who have made it where I want to was a real privilege. It showed me that up there nothing is really that different. It gave me confidence that I can get to that level. As far as players leaving a lasting impression, Ryan Madson was by far the best guy to interact with when I was there.

Finally, how would you summarize your entire minor league experience?

My minor league experience was one of many lessons. Lessons about baseball, about life, about myself.

Phillies Win/Loss ChartIf you are a Phillies fan, I think you will enjoy this. Available now!