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Minor Matters: Adam Pettersen Picking it Up at Class-A

May 19, 2012 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Adam Pettersen is trying to work his way up the Minnesota Twins organizational chart.

Adam “AJ” Pettersen, the Twins’ 25th round pick out of the University of Minnesota last year, has a ways to go if he’s ever going to be mentioned in the same breath as former Gopher greats such as Paul Molitor and Dave Winfield.

This is a program not exactly known for churning out tons of big league talent, although it sure hit a couple of home runs with those Hall of Famers. Other notable former Golden Gophers include Denny Neagle, Kerry Ligtenberg Greg Olson (the catcher), Brian Raabe, Dan Wilson, Brent Gates, Robb Quinlan, Glen Perkins and Jack Hannahan.

Pettersen was the Gophers’ MVP last year, and after signing with the Twinkies the shortstop didn’t miss a beat, showing an advanced batting at in the Rookie Appalachian League. He doesn’t have any extra-base pop – which he continues to prove this season at Class-A – and his contact rates have slipped, taking his OBP with it.

On the plus side, Pettersen seems to be adjusting to the higher level, notwithstanding a 1-for-6 effort Friday. Over the past 10 games, he’s batting a robust .323 with a very solid .361 OBP.

Pettersen impressed scouts with his speed and defense at the Cape Cod League in 2010, but even then it didn’t appear that he’d ever develop into more than a slap hitter whose offensive future was predicated on his ability to make contact.

Farm Seedlings

  • Roger Kieschnick, a distant cousin of former big leaguer Brooks Kieschnick, is tearing it up in his first season at Triple-A for the Giants. San Francisco’s corner outfield slots are crowded enough these days with Melky Cabrera, Gregor Blanco and Nate Schierholtz (not to mention periodical outfielders like Brett Pill and Aubrey Huff) all vying for PT, so there’s simply no room for Kieschnick right now, but he’s definitely someone to keep an eye on. He’s cooled off recently (having a 15-game road hitting streak snapped Thursday), but is flashing more impressive power than ever, leads the PCL in runs and is being quite productive. After flashing decent speed last year, Kieschnick has been quiet in that department this season, but it’s not for lack of getting on base (.400 OBP). The Giants’ third round pick from 2008 is 25 already, so we don’t see a ton of upside here, but he’s definitely put himself on the map as a possible fourth outfielder with his performance this year.
  • San Francisco has another outfielder that’s raking at Triple-A, although at age 32, Justin Christian is hardly a prospect. He saw a bit of action with the Giants last year and hit fairly well, but what he’s going at Fresno this year is off the charts. Despite a 1-for-5 performance Friday, he’s batting .429 in the past 10 to take his season average up to .377 with 35 runs in 38 games. Christian’s batting eye has always been splendid, and this year is no exception, and he’s also been quite productive. Overall, he’s enjoying a career season. If injury strikes in San Francisco, Christian could get a look with the squad (although the fact that he’s not on the 40-man roster works against him).
  • While on the topic of veteran minor league outfielders enjoying breakout seasons, how about Texas’ Joey Butler? The Rangers’ 15th round pick from 2008 is in his second season at Triple-A, but is still looking for his first taste of the Show. If the 26-year-old keeps raking like he has been lately, he’ll definitely put himself on the radar, at the very least. Butler was on a serious tear about a week ago, but he’s cooled since (although Thursday he hit his fourth homer in nine games). He did draw two walks Friday, giving him 29 for the season, along with 34 runs in 41 games. That whopping .430 OBP has to have the attention of the Rangers’ brass – especially once Nelson Cruz’s hammies force him to the sidelines, which is pretty much No. 3 on the list of certainties of life, behind death and taxes.

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