In the final season of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ affiliation with the Chattanooga Lookouts, the team had its ups and downs. A slow start to the year was cause for concern, but the club played well enough in the second half to clinch a playoff spot and end up in the championship series.
A title remained out of reach, but there were plenty of bright spots along the way, including Andres Santiago’s no-hitter.
Player of the Year – Scott Schebler
Signed to an overslot bonus as a 26th-rounder in 2010, Schebler broke out last year in High-A Rancho Cucamonga after slugging 27 home runs and posting a .941 OPS. However, many evaluators dubbed it a California League mirage and ignored his production. Schebler needed a strong year in Double-A, and he had one.
The 23-year-old right fielder reached double digits in doubles, triples, home runs and stolen bases in 2014, leading the circuit in triples and homers. He posted strong splits against both lefties and righties, increased his walk rate and decreased his strikeout rate by more than 20%. He finished the year by hitting 10 home runs in August and recording a 1.011 OPS in the final full month of the regular season.
Schebler has some tools, including power and surprising speed for a player of his size. He played all three outfield spots but fits best in right, where his arm and bat play well. Considering the logjam in the outfield above him, he may be a trade piece for the club this winter.
Pitcher of the Year – Chris Reed
Reed represented the Dodgers in the Futures Game in 2013, pitching for the World team since he was born in England. The 2011 first-rounder spent the year with the Lookouts, posting a 3.86 ERA in 137.2 innings and returned to Double-A for 2014.
Now 24, Reed made strides in his second go-round in the league. He lowered his ERA by more than half a run, allowed fewer hits and fewer walks, and raised his strikeouts in almost the same number of innings. He also maintained a strong groundball rate and allowed 10 home runs in 23 starts.
A late season promotion to Triple-A Albuquerque proved to be too much for the lefty to handle, as Reed posted an ERA of just under 11.00 in five starts. However, he’s likely to start 2015 with the organization’s new Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City, which should prove to be a more friendly environment for pitchers.
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