International Experience Helped Lee
CLEVELAND — Chen-Chang Lee was able to go about his business in relative obscurity this past season at Double-A Akron. But odds are his quiet days on and off the mound are close to coming to an end.
Baseball fans in the United States may not yet be very familiar with the Indians righthanded reliever, but internationally, he's well known.
The 5-foot-11, 175-pounder was on Taiwan's roster for the 2008 Olympics. And while he doesn't look physically imposing, with a low three-quarters arm slot and a lightning bolt for an arm, Lee has been known to reach 96 mph on the radar gun.
"He was a fairly high-profile sign who our international scouts had a lot of history with," said Indians farm director Ross Atkins.
Lee's international experience is lengthy. In 2004, he pitched for Taiwan in the World Junior Championship. Two years later, he dominated the Czech Republic and Cuba in the World University Championship. He then pitched for Taiwan's senior team in the Asian Games and Intercontinental Cup, then suited up for the Anchorage Bucs in the Alaska League in 2007.
In 2008, Lee was one of just three amateurs on Taiwan's World University Championship squad before finally agreeing to sign with the Indians in September of that year.
Signed out of the Taipei Physical Education College in 2008, Lee was one of the most consistent relievers for the Aeros this past season.
The 23-year-old went 5-4, 3.22 in 44 relief appearances. Over 73 innings, Lee struck out 82 batters while issuing just 22 walks.
"In Akron, Lee continued to show the skills that make us believe he could pitch meaningful innings in a major league bullpen," Atkins said. "His recent success can be attributed to his increased ability to locate his fastball effectively to both halves (of the plate) and a tighter slider that he used as a finishing pitch."
• Outfielder Delvi Cid stole five more bases in high Class A Kinston's brief postseason run. He finished the regular season leading all minor leaguers with 71 stolen bases in 87 attempts.
• Infielder Drew Sutton earned a surprise promotion to Cleveland. The Indians claimed Sutton off waivers from the Reds on Aug. 6 and he hit .302/.414/.448 over 96 at-bats for Triple-A Columbus.