Lee Continues His Education
Dodgers righty still learning despite bypassing college
LOS ANGELES—Zach Lee may have bypassed college to join the Dodgers, but that doesn't mean his education stopped when he started to play pro ball.
If anything, the learning curve got steeper.
"The first year was a good learning experience," said Lee, who went 9-6, 3.47 in 109 innings with low Class A Great Lakes in his debut. "Trying to get used to the five-day rotation rather than the seven- or eight-day rotation with high school. Just to get innings in and work on some of my offspeed stuff along with getting acclimated to the travel and stuff. It was a pretty good year."
One made more impressive when you consider the righthander was still a teenager until two weeks after the season ended. He also weathered three weeks on the sidelines with what he said was a bout of tendinitis.
Lee was a two-sport high school star who was going to play quarterback at Louisiana State before the Dodgers signed him for a $5.25 million bonus in August 2010, with payments spread out over five years due to his two-sport status. He displayed a deep repertoire—including a fastball that touched 98 mph—and above-average control. He also put on 30 pounds of muscle since high school, growing to 220. But the biggest change he made this year, he says, is learning how to make changes.
"You have to try to make adjustments as quick as you can on the fly," he said. "Try to understand your delivery. Why you're making mistakes and try to fix those. Each hitter, each at-bat and each pitch really."
• The Dodgers return the bulk of their minor league staff, with managers for six of the club's top seven affiliates coming back. Last season four affiliates reached the postseason.
• The Dodgers invited 15 minor leaguers to a mid-January minicamp in Los Angeles. The group includes the organization's 2011 pitcher and player of the year in righthander Shawn Tolleson and outfielder Scott Van Slyke.