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Roberto Antonio Petagine is a left-handed first baseman for the LG Twins in Korean Baseball Organization. His Major League Baseball career includes brief stints with the Houston Astros , San Diego Padres , New York Mets ( and ), Cincinnati Reds , Boston Red Sox , and Seattle Mariners , but he is best known for his success in the Japanese Central League between and where, as a member of the Yakult Swallows (1999-) and Yomiuri Giants (-2004), he was among that country's premier offensive players.
Petagine entered professional baseball on February 13, , at the age of 18, when Houston signed him as an undrafted amateur free agent after starting his career in Venezuela with the Leones del Caracas baseball team in which he contributed with his power for several campaigns becoming a star and a well-known baseball player in his country. Later that year, he played his first pro season with the rookie-level GCL Astros of the Gulf Coast League. His production there, and the following year with Single-A Burlington, was solid (if unspectacular). Petagine would go on to substantial minor league success in his early to mid 20's, but even his early stats hinted at the trends that would define -- and perhaps curse -- his career in American baseball: always having an above-average OBP, but relatively little home run power, by the standards historically applied to first basemen.
A solid contact hitter who used the whole field with occasional pull power, the young Petagine was indeed most noteworthy for his control of the strike zone, and more specifically for the exceptional rate at which he drew walks. His breakout years were in through , as he moved through the minors to Triple-A, cumulatively averaging an OBP above .400 and a .500+ slugging percentage.
Giant shoes to fill | The Japan Times Online
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