Lookouts new roster loaded with top talent - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Lookouts new roster loaded with top talent

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Hot-hitting Yasiel Puig is the headliner, but he's hardly the only high-rated Los Angeles Dodger prospect Chattanooga baseball fans will get to see in 2013.

The Lookouts returned to AT&T Field Tuesday for their annual media day and exhibition game with Chattanooga State, and they did so with a talent-rich roster across the board.

"We've got talented players in the field. We've got talented arms, so the pitching staff is solid. And we've got Yasiel Puig," said new manager Jody Reed. "Who knows what you're going to see on any given day at the ballpark, and to me that's exciting."

Puig may be a surprise addition at the Double-A level considering his numbers.

The 22-year-old Cuban born outfielder led the Cactus League in hitting (.517) while piling up three homers, five doubles and 11 RBI in 27 spring training games.

He enters the season ranked as the No. 2 overall prospect in the Dodgers' organization by Baseball America, so far living up to the seven-year, $42 million contract he signed last summer.

"He was with the big league club and just tore spring training up," said Lookouts' hitting coach Orv Franchuk. "The big-league coaches and player development people I worked with at spring training were just speechless. They've never seen anything like him."

But Puig, who went 2-for-3 with two infield singles and two RBi in Tuesday's 5-4 exhibition win, is far from the only big name in Chattanooga.

The Lookouts' roster boasts six of the top ten players in the Dodgers' system, including five of the top seven.

No. 4 prospect Joc Pederson was LA's minor league player of the year in 2012 after hitting .313 with 18 home runs and 70 RBI at Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. He'll start in centerfield between Puig and returning slugger Blake Smith.

Returning pitcher Zach Lee is ranked No. 5 in the organization by Baseball America, while fellow starters Chris Reed and Onelki Garcia are Nos. 6 and 7. Another returning starting pitcher, Matt Magill at No. 9, is in the top ten.

"You're not going to win every game, but our goal is to get into the playoffs and obviously try to win it all," said Pederson, who went 1-for-3 with a double in Tuesday's exhibition game. "The talent on this team is unbelievable, so I think we all feel really lucky to have the opportunity to play together."

Chattanooga was the North Division's second-half champ last season, but was swept by Tennessee in the opening round of the Southern League postseason.

The 2013 campaign officially opens at 7:15 p.m. ET Thursday night when the Lookouts host Huntsville at AT&T Field.

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