Zach Lee, a 2010 LSU football signee who was projected to be the quarterback of the future, is excelling in the Los Angeles Dodger farm system on the mound.
Lee was scheduled to fill a pair of significant roles after signing on with Les Miles in '10, following a 3-star rated career out of McKinney High in Texas. At the 11th hour, the plan took a sharp detour.
As Lee prepared to attend class in the fall of 2010, the Dodgers, who had selected him with the 28th selection in the 1st round of the June MLB Amateur draft, made a final last pitch of $5.25 million. It didn't take Lee (6'4-190) long to give the nod to Dodger blue brass.
Since he has taken the professional baseball route, Lee has been on the fast track to the top of his game. He won 11 games with a 2.15 ERA, striking out 91 batters in 109 innings after reporting in 2010. His repertoire features a 95 mph fastball with a slider and change-up combo. He doesn't lose the strike zone much, but does need some polish on his curve. Zach is not overpowering, striking out 7.6 hitters every nine innings.
Lee was stationed in Class A in 2011 with the Great Lake Loons in the Midwest League where he had 24 starts , a 9-6 record with a 3.46 ERA.
At High A Ranch Cucamonga Quakes in 2012, he finished with a 2-2 record in 12 starts with a 4.55 ERA before moving onto AA Chattanooga Lockouts on June 25th to finish the season. There he posted a 4-3 record with a 4.25 ERA.
His road to the majors begins in Chattanooga this week. Lee is ranked as the top prospect in the Dodger farm system for the second year in a row. Zach was rated as the 5th best prospect in the California League last fall and 13th overall in the Southern League, and he is the highest ranked pitching prospect.
He could be sporting a Dodger uniform this September if everything falls into place. He will be 22 years old on September 13th.
It seems to be an ideal fit for Lee in an organization where there's new ownership at the top and a rebuilding of what was a weakened farm system.
It's difficult to ascertain how much of an impact Zach Lee might have made at LSU. He picked the Tigers over football offers from Ole Miss, Arizona, Arizona State, Texas Tech and Nebraska after throwing for 5,500 yards and 64 touchdowns his final two seasons at McKinney.
Lee was signed by Miles to compete with Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee. In baseball, he would now be a junior on Paul Mainieri's squad. One can imagine how much he could have improved an already solid Tiger pitching staff. Could he have made a difference at Tiger Stadium and at Alex Box?
One can only wonder.
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