The Chattanooga Lookouts have yet to win a Southern League playoff game as Class AA affiliates of the Los Angeles Dodgers, but effective player development is evident.
Eight players who have called Chattanooga his temporary home the past three years began spring training with hopes of making and impacting Los Angeles this season. Dee Gordon will be the starting shortstop for the Dodgers, who open play Thursday in San Diego, with Javy Guerra the closer and Kenley Jansen the top set-up reliever.
"We've really been excited about the young guys we've had come through the minor league system, and we are excited about the guys coming through now," Dodgers farm director De Jon Watson said. "We think they can help us win important games for us at the major league level. I think it's a testament to what we're preaching and teaching in the minor leagues.
"We want these guys prepared as they continue progressing forward."
Here are where some former Lookouts stood in the Dodgers organization as of Monday night:
READY TO ROLL
Shortstop Dee Gordon -- Gordon hit .277 in 133 games with the Lookouts in 2010, driving in 39 runs and stealing 53 bases. He made his big-league debut last season and played 56 games, hitting .304 and collecting 24 steals. Gordon is a former Baseball America top organizational prospect who hasn't disappointed at any stage along the way.
Pitcher Javy Guerra -- Guerra played for the Lookouts during the 2009-11 seasons, but he didn't stick around long last year. After going 1-0 with a 1.06 ERA in 14 appearances, he was promoted to Los Angeles, where in 47 games he went 2-2 with a 2.31 ERA. Guerra also collected 21 saves.
Pitcher Kenley Jansen -- During the 2010 season, Jansen went from the high Single-A California League to Chattanooga to Los Angeles, with his 22 appearances with the Lookouts yielding a 4-0 record and a 1.67 ERA. He played in 51 games with the Dodgers last season, going 2-1 with a 2.85 ERA and five saves.
ON THE MEND
Pitcher Rubby De La Rosa -- De La Rosa began last season in Chattanooga and went 2-2 with a 2.93 ERA in eight starts before being promoted to Los Angeles. He went 4-5 with a 3.71 ERA in 13 games (10 starts) with the Dodgers before undergoing Tommy John surgery in August. De La Rosa is expected to miss most, if not all, of the 2012 season.
Pitcher Scott Elbert -- Elbert is expected to be among the 25 opening-day Dodgers, as he's the only left-handed reliever. He first reached the majors in 2008 from Double-A affiliate Jacksonville, and he started the '09 season in Chattanooga, going 2-3 with a 3.90 ERA in 12 games (11 starts). In 47 games with the Dodgers last year, Elbert went 0-1 with a 2.43 ERA.
Pitcher Nathan Eovaldi -- Eovaldi began last season in Chattanooga's rotation and went 6-5 with a 2.62 ERA in 20 games (19 starts) before being called up to Los Angeles. He went 1-2 with a 3.63 ERA in 10 appearances (six starts) with the Dodgers and began this week still competing for a spot in the rotation.
Pitcher Josh Lindblom -- Lindblom played for the Lookouts in 2009 and again last season, when he went 1-3 with a 2.13 ERA and collected 17 saves. He earned his first big-league promotion and excelled, going 1-0 with a 2.73 ERA. Lindblom is competing for one of the final bullpen spots.
Infielder Justin Sellers -- Sellers spent the 2009 season in Chattanooga, hitting .280 in 116 games. He played most of the 2010-11 seasons in Triple-A Albuquerque before receiving his first big-league call-up last year, hitting .203 in 36 games. Sellers is fighting for the final reserve infielder spot.
HAVING TO WAIT
Outfielder Jerry Sands -- Sands led the 2010 Lookouts with 17 home runs despite playing just 68 games following his promotion from Single-A, and he was the organization's minor league player of the year. He made his debut with the Dodgers last season and hit .253 in 61 games, including .342 in September. Sands hit just .158 this spring, however, and will start out in Albuquerque.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.
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 ...