Chances are you have heard of his name. Zach Lee was once touted as the future ace for the Dodgers. Despite falling down the Dodgers prospect rankings, he is still considered to be an untouchable prospect – if there is such a thing. Lee was drafted in 2011 and has spent his four-year career in the minors. He will most likely make his debut when rosters expand in September.
Beginning in Low-A Great Lakes, Lee performed exceptionally well making 24 starts and pitching 109 innings. With 12.6% K%-BB%, Lee seemed to be on the right path. Moving through the Dodgers farm system, Zach Lee continued to turn heads. Following his promotion to High-A ball, Lee dominated batters with an 8.46 K/9, 1.63 BB/9, and an 18% strikeout-to-walk differential. Given his success, he was promoted to Double-A Chattanooga during the 2012 season and experienced his first setback. His struggles in Double-A tested his mettle as he saw his K/9 drop to 6.99 and he started walking more batters, to the tune of a 3.02 BB/9. He began 2013 in Chattanooga and managed to bounce back. His K/9 rate rose to 8.26 and he posted the lowest ERA of his minor league career, 3.22. Given his performance, Lee was promoted to Triple-A ball and struggled once more. Starting in 27 games and pitching in 150.2 innings, the most of his career, Lee slumped through with a 5.79 K/9 and suffered the highest ERA of his career, 5.38. He began 2015 back in Triple-A, but will see experience his first major league game towards the end of the season.
While no longer the future ace he was considered to be, Zach Lee will be a solid middle rotation pitcher. If he can overcome his struggles as he has proven capable of doing, Lee will be needed in a rotation that is dependent on McCarthy being healthy and might not have Greinke and will definitely not have Anderson after 2015. Provided nothing jarring happens to Kershaw and Ryu, Zach Lee will be a welcome number 3 or 4 starter come 2016.