November 27, 2014

Dodgers Select Zach Lee with First Round Pick

Ah, draft day.  It doesn’t have the flash and pzazz of the NFL or even the NBA drafts, but it’s still important for the future of MLB clubs. 

Today, the Dodgers selected right-handed pitcher Zachary Lee from McKinney (Texas) High School with the 28th selection in the first round pick of the draft.  Lee is 6-foot-4, 195 pounds with a 93-mph fastball, as well as a full arsenal of other pitches, including a changeup and slider.

More on Lee from the Dodgers:

Lee, a 6-foot-4, 195-pounder, was a two-sport athlete in high school, starring in both football and baseball. The 18-year-old won 11 games during his senior season with a 2.15 ERA and 90 strikeouts. He throws three different pitches for strikes, including an effective breaking pitch and changeup. As a quarterback, Lee passed for 2,565 years and 31 touchdowns last fall and has committed to play both sports at Louisiana State University.

“We are happy to have selected such a fine competitive young man and athlete such as Zach,” said White. “He has a chance to be a quality Major League pitcher.”

Lee entered the draft as the 14th-best right-handed pitcher and ranked 29th overall among draft-eligible prospects according to Baseball America.

Lee does sound great, right?  But there’s thatcatch: Zach Lee has also committed to LSU where he’s received a scholarship to play quarterback, as well as baseball.  Jim Alexander of the Long Beach Press-Enterprise said the following in a series of tweets:

Dodgers VP Logan White: Zach Lee is a “very good quarterback, but an outstanding pitcher.”  White said he’s optimistic McCourt will allow him to go over the normal slot for a 28th pick if necessary to sign Lee.  White: “The talent level is so good, it’d be sad if we didn’t take the chance.”  White said he hadn’t thought of a contract that would allow Lee to play football as well, but is focused on just getting him signed.

Mark Dent of the Dallas Morning News’ High School Sports Blog had the following assesment of Lee:

For Lee, the question already hovered in the air before the draft: Would he play professional baseball or would he go to college and play quarterback at LSU?

Now the decision just got tougher for Lee. No one would argue that Lee is worthy of a spot this high in the draft based on talent, but plenty wondered if he’d get taken so high given that he appeared interested in keeping his commitment to LSU.

The Dodgers, who have some of the deepest pockets in baseball, are just the team that could try and make a run at Lee and bring him to the Major Leagues.

This spring, Lee had 11 victories and had a 2.15 ERA and 90 strikeouts.

Ok, the “some of the deepest pockets in baseball” comment made me laugh, but in all seriousness, Logan White and Ned Colletti are the men that can get this done and get Lee in a Dodger uniform ASAP.

But there’s a potential darker motivation to drafting of Zach Lee.  Could the Dodgers have actually have drafted him with the understanding that they probably can’t sign him?  Dylan Hernandez tweeted tonight:

Logan White adamantly denied that the Dodgers purposely selected an unsignable player to save money. “I can only give you my word,” he said.

Maybe it’s the way I approach life, but I can’t believe the Dodgers would ever intentionally draft someone that they didn’t think they had a shot of signing.  That would be a very, very bad sign for the credibility of the organization and I can’t believe ownership would risk that to save a few million.  Sure, the Dodgers are trying to steal the kid away from LSU, but Logan White and team have got to feel like they have a shot if they’re going to take a chance on drafting him, right?  Here’s a little more from Hernandez on the Dodgers first round selection.

Eric Stephen of True Blue LA and Chad Moriyama of Memories of Kevin Malone have even more on Zach Lee, so be sure and see what makes this guy worthy of a first round selection and some of the challenges that come with signing the high school graduate.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out!  Regardless, congratulations Zach!