(Pictured left to right) Chris Pettit & Mark Trumbo
By Chuck Richter - Angelswin.com Executive Editor
The two top hitting prospects that ranked in the top 20 of our Angelswin.com top-50 prospects list going into 2008, took time out of their day to answer some questions at the conclusion of the Arizona Fall League season.
Chris Pettit performed well and was our choice for the Angels MVP in the AFL this fall. Pettit's .359/.417/.545 offensive line in 145 AB, including four HR and 8-for-10 in SB attempts ended the 2008 season of ball on a high note after what was a frustration injury riddled season at Double-A Arkansas. Pettit tells us a little bit about that later on.
Mark Trumbo, while he didn't show a lot of power - slugged only .357 with one HR and only eight xBH in 154 AB, Mark tells about what he was working on in the Arizona Fall League and why he's excited going forward into '09 with what he's learned this fall. Scouting Director Eddie Bane loves what he's seen from Trumbo this season as his raw light tower power was displayed in actual games in '08, as Mark crushed 32 dingers over the fence between two levels.
Alright, let's talk Arizona Fall League Ball with Mark Trumbo and Chris Pettit.....
Q: Angelswin.com - Was there a particular thing you worked on in the AFL? and if so, do you think you accomplished that goal?
Mark Trumbo - Probably the single biggest thing that I worked on while in the AFL was being able to recognize breaking balls and attack them in the correct way. This has been one area of my game that I am aware that needs work and I am pleased with the improvements up until this point.
Chris Pettit - I was there to catch up on the at-bats I missed during the season, while also trying to be more consistent with my swing. I felt like I was able to take good at-bats and maintain a solid approach throughout the AFL.
Q: Angelswin.com - Were you pretty satisfied with your 2008 minor league season?
Mark Trumbo - I would say that overall 2008 was by far my best year as far as numbers and improvement go. I was able to hit for a higher average and drive the ball to all fields, all the while limiting my strikeouts to a reasonable total. My defense is one area I am constantly working on, and despite the numerous critics, I feel I am improving on and moving in the right direction.
Chris Pettit - No, I was very disappointed with the season, including being injured on opening day and my personal performance when I returned, but I was very happy with our team and being able to contribute to winning the Texas League Championship.
Q: Angelswin.com - What do you feel you still need to work at to succeed at the next level (Double-A or Triple-A)?
Mark Trumbo - From my experience in the AFL I gained a much better appreciation for the command the pitchers at the higher levels possess and the adjustments that I need to make to combat them. Oftentimes you will only see one very hittable pitch an at bat and sometimes you won't see any. To me this places even more importance on formulating a plan and sticking with it at the plate.
Chris Pettit - The biggest thing is consistency in a solid approaching and being able to make the necessary constant adjustments to succeed.
Q: Angelswin.com - The hitters seemed to have dominated the pitching in the AFL this year. Do you think the weather and ball park effects have something to do with that or was this just a very good crop of hitters in the AFL?
Mark Trumbo - I would say that there was just a very good group of hitters present this year. The conditions do favor hitters during the day, but hitting at Scottsdale Stadium at night was a struggle.
Chris Pettit - The weather in Arizona is great for hitting, but there were a lot of good pitchers in the AFL as well. There are definitely no easy at bats.
Q: Angelswin.com - Who was the toughest pitcher you faced in the AFL?
Mark Trumbo - There were numerous talented arms, but Tommy Hanson from the Braves probably had the best 4 pitch arsenal.
Chris Pettit - Agreed, the toughest pitcher I faced was Tommy Hanson, which I think most everyone would agree to, but I also thought Andrew Bailey had gotten a lot better since I had last faced him.
Q: Angelswin.com - Who were you most impressed with the bat, on the bases and defensively in the AFL (opponent or teammate) ?
Mark Trumbo - It seemed like there were so many gifted players in the league that every team had numerous guys that belong on this list but from personal experience I have never played on a team with better pure hitters than Kevin Frandsen and San Dimas' very own Chris Pettit. Mike McKenry from the Rockies showed some real promise as a power hitting catcher as did Tyler Flowers from the Braves. Defensively I was impressed with Chris McConnell from the Royals and Carlos Truinfel from the Mariners.
Chris Pettit - I thought Drew Sutton hit very well, and had a very calm and consistent approach at the plate. A couple other hitters that I enjoyed watching hit were JP Arencibia and Logan Morrison.
Q: Angelswin.com - One player that you witnessed in the AFL and said to yourself "That is a future Major League Star". Who would that be?
Mark Trumbo - Jason Donald.
Chris Pettit - Tommy Hanson
Q: Angelswin.com - What was your most memorable moment in the Arizona Fall League, either on or off the field?
Mark Trumbo - Two memories really stand out from my experience. One would be getting a big hit against Rowdy Hardy to put our team ahead in a game. The second would be hitting a hanging curveball against former Angel Steve Merrick into left field for an RBI base hit.
Chris Pettit - I think it would be getting to play with Kevin Frandsen again. We are good friends that played together in summer ball in college, and it was fun getting to be on the field with him again.
Q: Angelswin.com - OK, non Baseball related. What did Mark Trumbo and Chris Pettit do for fun in Arizona when the cap and jersey were off?
Mark Trumbo - Played some golf here and there and made it out to some Arizona Cardinals and Phoenix Suns games.
Chris Pettit - I was able to make it to my first ever NFL football game, Arizona Cardinals vs. Buffalo Bills, which was a very fun game.
Q: Angelswin.com - Now that the AFL season is over, what plans do you both have for the offseason?
Mark Trumbo - As of this writing I have resumed my workouts and am preparing for spring training, which will be here before you know it. I may make a trip or two out to the Las Vegas area as well.
Chris Pettit - I plan to relax and then get into the weight room to prepare myself for next year.
This concludes our Q&A session with Mark Trumbo and Chris Pettit. Thanks guys and good luck in '09.