A look ahead to the top Dodger prospects for 2012. Is there another Clayton Kershaw among them? In…
Dodgers Prospect Countdown: #1 Zach Lee
Born September 13, 1991 in McKinney, Texas. Drafted in the 1st round (28th overall) in the 2010 First Year Player Draft. Listed at 6'4 and 190 lbs. Bats and throws right-handed.
Made his debut with the Great Lakes Loons in 2011 and appeared in 24 games (all starts). Pitched 109 innings, allowing 101 hits (9 home runs) and 32 walks while striking out 91. Posted an ERA of 3.47.
Tall and lean, Zach profiles as a power pitcher with a deep repertoire. He starts off with a fastball that sits in the low 90s but he's been up as high as 98. He also throws a sinker and a cutter, the latter becoming a deadly weapon in 2011.
While Lee's primary breaking ball in high school was more of a slurve than anything else, the Dodgers had him work on throwing both a curve and a slider during his debut. The curve is a big, loopy offering that's meant to change a hitter's eye level. The slider became another strong offering as the season went on. Surprisingly, Zach's changeup is already a viable option and he throws it with confidence.
A quarterback in high school, Lee is a good athlete with a great build and projection left in his upper body. His delivery and mechanics are simple and he repeats them well. He already shows a willingness to pitch inside and should have at least plus command by the time he reaches the majors.
High. Zach still has a lot of upside and profiles as a #1 if the velocity gets a bump with more conditioning. He already throws six pitches, three of which grade out as above average to plus. That, combined with his command, makes me very confident in his ability to develop.
There is still some work to do. He hasn't pitched above Low A and did have a bit of elbow soreness in the early part of last season. His strikeout and hits allowed rates weren't dominant. But he does keep the ball down, pitch inside and hold lefties in check.
It looks as if Lee will begin 2012 in High A, meaning I'll be out to see him in person this season. He could reach Double A by July and make his major league debut in 2013. If everything works out right, he should replace one of the Dodgers' three free agent starters in 2014.
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