Over three years ago I moved to the upstate of South Carolina, and with that came an excitement having a minor league team within driving distance. It's been fun seeing some top prospects move through the Red Sox system, one of which is now with the big league club (Mookie Betts) while others have played for the major league squad in spring training games (Rafael Devers, Mauricio Dubon, Sam Travis, Yoan Moncada).
Our honeymoon trip to Boston brought us to Fenway Park, a trip that we want to repeat soon. While the Sox are not my #1 team, I certainly have an interest in the big league club as more players from Greenville move towards Boston.
Last summer, my wife and I caught a Chattanooga Lookouts game against the Jacksonville Suns as part of a trip to Tennessee for our first anniversary. The Lookouts not only have an excellent mascot but they had some top prospects in the Twins system as well. Miguel Sano is now with the big league club and Max Kepler is on his way there. Both guys were impressive and helped lead the Lookouts to a 3-2 win. Seeing these guys play in person was a treat and made me interested in following their careers, and of course, pick up some of their cardboard.
I definitely appreciate Topps producing sets of minor league players. The first is from 2012 Topps Pro Debut and shows Sano as a member of the Elizabethton Twins. As an 18 year old in rookie league ball he hit 20 home runs in 66 games with a .292 average.
His 2013 card pictures him on the Fort Myers Miracle, Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Twins. He played in 56 games there, batting .330.
Finally we have a Heritage Minors card from 2013, where Sano played AA ball for the New Britain Rock Cats. Throughout his stops in the minors he has shown power. In case you missed it, the Rock Cats have moved to Hartford and now compete as the Hartford Yard Goats, the AA affiliate of the Rockies.
Sano's 2015 Bowman Chrome card points out that he did not play in 2014 due to injury, as he recovered from Tommy John surgery.
I also recently picked up two 2016 cards from Topps. His New Age Performers insert compares his power to Harmon Killebrew.
I'm a fan of the Lookouts jersey and their team logo and mascot. The jersey, you might notice, resembles the design of the Dodgers. The Lookouts were an affiliate of the Dodgers prior to their affiliation with the Twins.
Here's a photo I snapped of Looie the Lookout from our game in Chattanooga. The Lookouts are named for Lookout Mountain which is close by.
At Lover's leap on Lookout Mountain you can look out on 7 states.
My wife and I at Lover's Leap in Rock City.
The Twins and Sano are struggling at the moment, as are the Braves. Both squads are 0-9. Here's hoping Sano gets out of his slump soon. When he does... LOOKOUT.