published Thursday, July 4th, 2013

Former Chattanooga Lookouts living large

Los Angeles Dodgers' Yasiel Puig breaks his bat as he hits a single against the San Francisco Giants.
Los Angeles Dodgers' Yasiel Puig breaks his bat as he hits a single against the San Francisco Giants.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Yasiel Puig

Dodgers right fielder

Time in Chattanooga: After hitting .517 with the Dodgers in spring training, Puig was assigned to the Class AA Lookouts in late March. In 40 games before his promotion, he hit a league-leading .313 and had eight home runs and 37 RBIs.

How he's doing now: Puig entered Wednesday night hitting .443 with eight homers and 17 RBIs and was named earlier in the day as National League rookie of the month and player of the month, becoming the first to earn the player honor in his first month since the award was established in 1958. Whether he makes the Major League All-Star Game has become the biggest debate in the sport.

Homer Bailey

Reds starting pitcher

Time in Chattanooga: Bailey made 13 starts for the Lookouts in the second half of the 2006 season, going 7-1 with a 1.59 earned run average and tallying 77 strikeouts in 68 innings.

How he's doing now: Although he is 5-6 this year with a 3.57 ERA in 17 starts, Bailey proved again Tuesday that he can be as dominant as any pitcher on a given night. His 109th and final pitch Tuesday was clocked at 97 mph.

Joey Votto

Reds first baseman

Time in Chattanooga: In a highly productive 2006 season, the Canadian hit .319 in 136 games with 22 home runs and 77 RBIs. With Votto leading the way, the Lookouts went 81-59.

How he's doing now: Votto is a career .317 hitter with the Reds since coming up in 2007 and was the National League MVP in 2010. He entered Wednesday night hitting .325 in 84 games with 14 homers and 39 RBIs.

Edwin Encarnacion

Blue Jays first baseman

Time in Chattanooga: Encarnacion played a combined 187 games for the 2003 and '04 Lookouts. He hit .281 in 120 games with 76 RBIs on Chattanooga's '04 team that posted an 87-53 record.

How he's doing now: Toronto was among baseball's hottest teams in June, and Encarnacion was a big reason. He entered Wednesday hitting .270 with 66 RBIs, and his 23 home runs ranked third in the major leagues.

Jay Bruce

Reds right fielder

Time in Chattanooga: It was blink and you missed him, as Bruce spent just 16 games with the 2007 Lookouts. He hit .333 with 15 RBIs before Cincinnati moved him on to Triple-A.

How he's doing now: There are former Lookouts aplenty helping the Reds make a run at baseball's best record. Bruce entered Wednesday hitting .278 in 83 games, and his power is evident with 18 homers and 56 RBIs.

There never has been a better time to be a former Chattanooga Lookout.

For the past month, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig has captivated the major leagues by hitting .443 in his first 27 games following his June 2 promotion from Chattanooga. The 22-year-old Cuban defector racked up 44 hits in June, the most by a player in his first month since Joe DiMaggio tallied 48 in May 1936.

Yet Puig had to take a back seat this week after Cincinnati Reds pitcher Homer Bailey threw his second career no-hitter in Tuesday night's 3-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants. Bailey, who made 13 starts for the Lookouts in 2006, earned his first no-hitter last September in Pittsburgh and is the first big-league pitcher to have the two most recent no-hitters since Nolan Ryan in 1974 and '75.

"I love that side of it," Lookouts general manager Rich Mozingo said Wednesday afternoon. "I watch these guys on 'SportsCenter' like everyone else in the world does, and it's very cool to think about these guys coming through this field and having them here for whatever period of time they were here."

The Chattanooga launching pad also can claim Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto, Reds right fielder Jay Bruce and Toronto first baseman Edwin Encarnacion, all of whom are having stellar seasons.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

  • photo
    Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey, right, hugs catcher Ryan Hanigan, left, after Bailey threw a no-hitter against the San Francisco Giants in a baseball game Tuesday in Cincinnati. Cincinnati won 3-0.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

  • photo
    Cincinnati Reds' Jay Bruce high fives Joey Votto (19) after Bruce hit a home run off Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Matt Garza.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

  • photo
    Toronto Blue Jays' Edwin Encarnacion follows the flight of his ninth-inning home run off Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Roberto Hernandez in St. Petersburg, Fla.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

about David Paschall...

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 ...

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