Zach Lee is a powerful right-handed pitcher from McKinney High School in McKinney, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. Lee is teammates with fellow Draft Notebook prospect Matt Lipka, and they form what is likely the best teammate draft combination in this draft class. Lee is the pitcher between the two, and he is also the quarterback, which is where his draft stock gets muddy. Having been one of the most successful quarterbacks in the country as a prep, LSU came calling to sign him as both a football and baseball player, and they were successful in doing so. While he didn’t choose to forego his senior spring in favor of jumping ahead to play spring football for the Tigers, he has been relatively unavailable all spring to scouts, choosing to use Lipka as his messenger, an odd choice, though one that’s understandable, as he doesn’t want the pressure overtaking him. He has the raw stuff of a potential number two starter, and that alone should make him desirable enough to be an early pick on draft day. His fastball is a potential plus offering, and he sits 91-93, touching 95, right now. He has room to add a couple ticks of velocity to that, and his mechanics are exceptionally clean, meaning scouts think he won’t get in the way of himself growing with his stuff. His breaking ball is an above-average to plus slider, and his changeup is also a potential above-average pitch, giving him three pitches to work with and projectability. Since he has a dual sport scholarship, teams can spread a potential bonus over as many as five years if they draft him, so that gives them a little safety, but he will still be an incredibly tough sign. He should go in the back third of the first round, but it may take as much as $3.5 million to get him inked in August.
Lee will be expensive if the Dodgers try to convince him to avoid football. The last time my favorite team drafted an LSU quarterback in the first round (JaMarcus Russell to the Raiders), it was a disaster. Let's hope this turns out much better.
Here is the MLB.com video report on Lee.
Dodger assistant GM of amateur and international scouting spoke with reporters at the game tonight. Per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
"People can think what they want, he was the best talent available and I want to sign him, absolutely," said Logan White, assistant general manager of scouting. "I didn't take Zach to not sign him. You'll see as the summer goes along we'll make every effort to sign him, and I want to sign him. I know it won't be easy, but hopefully we'll get it done."
Mark Dent of the Dallas Morning News is undeterred by skepticism that Frank McCourt won't spend the money to sign Lee:
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
Here's video of Lee's delivery from last August 11, via farmsystem on YouTube (thanks to Nate Purcell for the link):