Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Zach Lee - Scouting Report and Videos

How did the Dodgers get Zach Lee?

Everyone knew that Lee was destined to play for LSU. Every MLB teams thought Lee was unsignable because the two-sport athlete wanted to play quarterback at Louisiana State. He even reported to LSU and was in football camp.

Lee was considered by many scouts a top 10 pick. But when you're saying that you want to play college football, that's going to scare teams. But Dodgers assistant gm Logan White took the chance. He took the chance knowing that if the Dodgers don't sign Lee, everyone will be pointing at Dodgers owner Frank McCourt.

From L.A. Times:

"I do think Frank’s been unfairly criticized at times for the selection of this pick," said Logan White, Dodgers assistant general manager. "We had discussed this with him before we made this pick and Frank certainly had the courage to still allow us to do it, even though he was going to be criticized."

I would've loved to hear that conversation.

Logan: Hey Frank, I want to get Lee but everyone is saying he's not going to sign because he wants to play football for LSU.

Frank: Do what you got to do!

Logan: Well yeah but you do know the media will attack you.

Frank: I don't care. Draft him! 

Something like that, right?

Plus the money didn't hurt. From Tony Jackson of ESPN L.A.

In a development that had to have been as shocking to the Louisiana State University football program and its fans as it was to a legion of Los Angeles Dodgers cynics who were sure the club had deliberately thrown away its first-round draft pick on an unsignable player in an effort to save money, the Dodgers reached agreement with that first-round pick, right-hander Zach Lee from McKinney (Texas) High School, just before Monday night's deadline for signing 2010 draft choices.

The deal, which is pending a physical examination that is expected to take place Wednesday in Los Angeles, carries a $5.25 million signing bonus that will be paid out during the next five years.

It is the biggest signing bonus awarded to a draft pick in Dodgers history, shattering the mark of $2.3 million given to first-rounder Clayton Kershaw in 2006.

That's a lot of money.

More from ESPN:

White said Lee's contract won't allow him to play football on the side.

"He is absolutely 100 percent dedicated to baseball,'' White said.

However, in the unlikely event Lee changes his mind down the road and goes back to football, White said there are provisions in the contract that will limit the Dodgers' financial losses, although he wouldn't go into detail as to what those provisions are.

That's great news. So what's the scouting report on Lee? 
As a pitcher, White said Lee is a better all-around athlete than either Kershaw or Chad Billingsley, two recent first-round picks (2006 and 2004, respectively) who are now mainstays in the Dodgers' starting rotation.

"He has an absolutely picture-perfect delivery and excellent arm action,'' White said."He is as pure as any pitcher I have ever seen. He has power stuff like Kershaw and Billingsley, but when those guys were younger, they would almost fight through a wall sometimes and try to overpower somebody, but they have grown and learned how to pitch more than just throw and be more effective with their pitch counts.

"I think Lee at the same age has a better feel for how to pitch than Chad or Clayton, and I don't mean that to disparage them at all.''

White said Lee's fastball touches 95 mph, but that he normally pitches in the 89-90 range, has a good breaking ball and a great changeup.

White hinted that Lee, who immediately will jump to the head of the pack as the Dodgers' top pitching prospect, might not pitch for any of the club's minor league affiliates this season, which makes sense given that all of those affiliates' regular-season schedules will conclude within the next three weeks or so. But White said Lee will be ready to go by the time the Arizona Instructional League begins in the fall.

Big expectations. Better than Kershaw and Billingsley at the same age?

Oh yeah! I'm excited. I'm sure LSU is upset. Check out this interview of Lee while in Football camp last weekend....

And another one, trying to learn the LSU offense:

Video of Lee pitching in High School as a Junior. (area code games)

Good luck Zach!