What if Paul Maholm is not the answer as the #5 starter? The Dodgers had issues with their #5 starter last year and saw Stephen Fife, Matt Magill, and Edinson Volquez make spot starts. One guy who has not had his name called yet is Zach Lee, the 28th overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft.
Lee was a two-sport start growing up in McKinney, Texas, committing to LSU for both basketball and football. Eventually Lee gave up football to focus on baseball and made his Dodger debut with the Great Lake Loons (Class A Midwest League) in 2011. He finished the 2011 season with a 9-6 record and in 109 innings, struck out 91 batters and held opponents to a .242 batting average. Lee struggled in 2012, spending half of the season with the High A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and the other half with the AA Chattanooga Lookouts. He finished the season with a 6-6 record and a 4.39 era.
Zach Lee was invited to his first major league camp during the offseason. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Lee spent last season with the Lookouts again and had his best season even though his record didn’t show it. He went 10-10 but had a 3.22 era and finished third in the Southern League with 131 strikeouts in 142.2 innings. One of the biggest positives about Lee is that he doesn’t walk a lot of batters, only 35 last year or one every four innings. For his efforts, he played in the Southern League All-Star Game and was named the 2013 Dodgers Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Lee was selected to the Dodgers Major League camp this offseason before starting the season with the AAA Albuquerque Isotopes. He is 2-1 with a 1.99 era in four starts this year.
At 22 years old, it wouldn’t surprise me if it Lee was called up to the big leagues this season. He has a four-seam fastball in the range of 90-95 mph, a two-seam fastball, a slider, a slow curveball, and a changeup. He has shown in his time in the minors that he belongs in the MLB and would be a good #5 starter for the team. It would benefit him tremendously if he could also spend more time with two of the best pitchers in the MLB in Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw and learn from them.
Lee reminds me a lot of a young Josh Beckett with his command and delivery. The #62 prospect according to MLB.com is ready. Is it Zack Lee time? In simple words, yes.