Monday, June 25, 2012

Dodgers promote top prospect Zach Lee to Double-A Chattanooga

In a move that was expected in a month or two, the Dodgers today promoted top prospect Zach Lee to the Chattanooga Lookouts of the Southern League.

Lee, 20, was the subject of a post I penned 10 days ago in which I pointed out he was having a great season even if some of his numbers looked a little below-average.

Lee is the second first-round pitcher to be promoted to Double-A this season, as Chris Reed was promoted in early June.

The Dodgers have rarely been afraid to be aggressive with their pitching prospects, so this isn't much of a surprise. However, the fact that Lee is 20 and will pitch in Double-A is sure to raise some eyebrows.

Chad Billingsley, Scott Elbert, Clayton Kershaw and Greg Miller all pitched in Double-A at age 20. Edwin Jackson one-upped the four of them by pitching with the Jacksonville Suns (the Dodgers' affiliate at the time) at age 19.

Aside from Miller, all the other pitchers have made it to the majors and had success (some more than others).

With Lee and Reed being promoted, the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes' pitching rotation has been stripped of their two best pitchers. Ryan O'Sullivan was assigned to Rancho earlier today from Great Lakes to presumably take Lee's spot. They also have Garrett Gould and Angel Sanchez. And Jarret Martin could be promoted at any time.

The impact on the Lookouts is also apparent.

To say there's a pitching logjam in Chattanooga would be an understatement. The Lookouts now have seven who can start: Lee, Matt Magill, Ethan Martin, Aaron Miller, Reed, Allen Webster and Chris Withrow (when he comes back from the disabled list).

It remains to be seen what the Lookouts will do. Magill has thrown poorly of late, Martin has been mediocre, Miller has been decent but isn't throwing a lot of innings, Reed is still getting acclimated to the league, Webster seems to have finally figured it out and Withrow struggled before going on the DL.

I like how aggressive the Dodgers are with their minor-league pitchers, so I'm looking forward to seeing how he handles advanced hitting in perhaps the most talented level of the Minor Leagues. Before the end of the season, he'll work out of the bullpen to limit his innings.

But no matter what happens the rest of this season, Lee will begin in Double-A in 2013.

Photo credit: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue


  1. Something is up. All these starters in Chattanooga, five first round picks. By something, I am thinking trade chips for the Dodgers. Eovaldi may well end up with the Lookouts again.

    I wouldn't characterize Ethan Martin as mediocre, having a better season line than Withrow, Miller, Webster and Magill. In his last three starts, he has run into control problems again, common with most of these young pitchers. His hits/inning has been very good. I think he is closer to MLB ready than all of them with the exception of Reed.

    In your previous post, I asked about Reed's situation. I expect they are just being careful after he had some shoulder soreness at RC.

  2. It could be a way to showcase some trade chips, but I'm hoping those chips aren't Lee or Reed unless the Dodgers have their sights set on an impact bat.

    Yeah, Martin has been pretty solid this season... just a little mediocre of late.

    Eovaldi has no reason to be back in the minors, but, like you, I could see him back with the Lookouts at some point.

    Answered the Reed question in the other post. Definitely just taking it slow with him, despite the aggressive promotion to Double-A.