There is a first time for everything, as five Chattanooga Lookouts discovered Wednesday.
Pitchers Ethan Martin and Matt Magill, third baseman Pedro Baez, utility infielder J.T. Wise and outfielder Blake Smith were named to the North Division roster for the Southern League All-Star Game, which will be held June 19 at Smokies Park in Kodak, Tenn. It is the first such invitation for all five Lookouts representatives, with Magill, Smith and Wise having never played in Double-A until this season.
"I try not to worry about individual stuff, but it is an accomplishment," Wise said. "To me, it's not a surprise the people who have made it. I've played with Blake every step of the way and with Ethan the past two years. They're good players."
Martin, a first-round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008, leads the Lookouts with a 6-2 record and has a 3.38 earned run average. He made 21 appearances with Chattanooga last season, but 18 of those were as a reliever.
"I've struggled a lot the past two years, and when I came up here last year and got put in the pen, it was a different mentality," Martin said. "I've tried to carry that same mentality this year as a starter."
Said Lookouts pitching coach Chuck Crim: "It has taken Ethan a little bit longer than some people wanted, but he's coming into his own and has become a valuable member of this pitching staff."
Magill is 5-3 with a 3.72 ERA, and his 71 strikeouts are tops in the league.
"Matt has really been solid his whole career," Crim said. "He is a strike-thrower with a wipeout breaking ball, which is why he leads the league in strikeouts."
Wise is hitting .278 with 20 doubles, four home runs and 27 RBIs, while Smith is hitting .273 with nine doubles, seven homers and 30 RBIs.
"I've had some pretty good seasons before this one, but I've never made an all-star team," Smith said. "There are some really good players on that list."
Baez has made two appearances in the Futures Game and is rated by Baseball America as the best defensive infielder in the Los Angeles Dodgers farm system. He is hitting .250 with 12 doubles, three homers and 26 RBIs.
Lookouts manager Carlos Subero was pleased with the selections but was hoping second baseman Luis Nunez and relief pitchers Steven Ames and Red Patterson would have received invites, too.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...