Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Dodgers' full-season minor league team preview: Chattanooga Lookouts

This is the third in a four-part series projecting the Dodgers' full-season minor league teams. Up next, the Chattanooga Lookouts.
Of all the Dodgers' minor league teams, this one should be the best. Once you see the roster, you'll see what I'm talking about.

The Lookouts were the only full-season Dodger minor league affiliate to make the postseason, thanks to a 41-29 second half.

Chattanooga faced off against the Jackson Generals (Mariners), filled with a bevy of prospects (James Paxton, Taijuan Walker and Mike Zunino, just to name a few). Jackson took the first two games of the series before an absolutely dominant pitching performance by Chattanooga gave the team its only playoff win. Jackson would take the series with in the next game.

Led by Nick Buss, Blake Smith and J.T. Wise, the Lookouts actually struggled a bit. They received some late-season reinforcements from Rancho Cucamonga in the form of C.J. Retherford and Bobby Coyle, but it wasn't enough to help the offense.

The pitching is where the Lookouts thrived. The team started the season with Nathan Eovaldi, Matt Magill, Ethan Martin and Allen Webster in the rotation. Unfortunately for the Lookouts, only Magill is still with the organization. The team did add Zach Lee, Chris Reed and Andres Santiago to bolster the staff late in the season -- all of whom are expected to be Lookouts for at least a portion of 2012.

The bullpen was great, with Geison Aguasviva, Steve Ames, Logan Bawcom (later traded), Red Patterson and Javier Solano leading the way.

Joc Pederson and Onelki Garcia made cameos in the playoffs and both could be two of the brightest starts on the squad.

The 2013 roster will be filled with all kinds of talent, including the $42-million man: Yasiel Puig.

Projected roster

Catchers (2)
Gorman Erickson
Christopher O'Brien

Infielders (6)
Joe Becker
Casio Grider
C.J. Retherford
Miguel Rojas
Angelo Songco
Scott Wingo

Outfielders (5)
Bobby Coyle
Omar Luna
Joc Pederson
Yasiel Puig
Kyle Russell

Starting pitchers (5)
Onelki Garcia
Zach Lee
Aaron Miller
Rob Rasmussen
Chris Reed

Relievers (7)
Ryan Acosta
Freddie Cabrera
Kelvin De La Cruz
Jose Dominguez
Eric Eadington
Jordan Roberts
Andres Santiago

Guys like Erickson  and Retherford could see promotions to Albuquerque, but there's a lot of players in line ahead of them. The offense looks like it could be strong, especially if Songco has a bounce-back season. The outfield will likely be formidable with some big-time prospects.

The pitching looks absolutely filthy. The rotation is headed by three of my top eight prospects, while Rasmussen could be a nice fit after his acquisition from Houston.

The bullpen probably won't be as good as it was last season, but Dominguez, after his 25-game suspension, should be the team's closer. Santiago, who has ability as a starter, is forced to the 'pen in favor of former supplemental first-round pick Miller. Those two are interchangeable in my eyes. Cruz could make the roster as a non-roster invite and gives the Lookouts three left-handers (along with Eadington and Roberts).

My lineup
Wingo 2B
Pederson LF
Puig CF
Songco 1B
Retherford 3B
Russell RF
Coyle DH
Erickson/O'Brien C
Grider SS

I don't think it's too likely Wingo leads off (hell, he might start with Rancho Cucamonga), but he has good on-base ability -- second only to Erickson in this lineup -- but there's no way Jody Reed (yes, that Jody Reed) bats his catcher leadoff. The 2-7 spots could be damn good, if everyone is clicking.

The rotation should be the team's bread and butter, as it has six legitimate starters and some highly ranked prospects.

Photo credits: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue

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