Zach Lee has fallen a long way since being taken in the first round of the 2010 draft. He fought for a rotation spot out of spring training with the Dodgers, but he was unable to snatch a gig even with the multitude of injuries that struck the Los Angeles pitching staff. It also seemed as if he lost his form from the year prior, as he stumbled in 14 appearances with Triple-A Oklahoma City just a year after dominating that level's hitters. This lack of progression prompted the Dodgers to ship him off to Seattle over the summer, where he regressed further. Despite being on the 40-man roster for the duration of the season, Lee failed to log a single major league inning and was just plain ugly in 14 starts. The clock is ticking for the former top prospect, and he'll get a fresh start in San Diego with an opportunity to compete for a rotation spot after being claimed off waivers by the Padres in December. Fantasy players should at least watch him.
Lee was optioned to Triple-A El Paso on Monday. Lee was passed over for spots in both San Diego's rotation and its bullpen. A first-round pick of the Dodgers in 2010, Lee was a compelling post-hype sleeper for the Padres in camp, but he was unable to do enough in his five spring innings to convince the Padres he deserved a major league spot. He had an option remaining, so Lee will have a chance to work his way back to the majors by performing well at El Paso.
Lee is no longer considered a starting rotation candidate and would have to make the Opening Day roster as a long reliever, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The Padres claimed the 25-year-old off of waivers this offseason, and he entered camp as a possible candidate to make the rotation. With three spots already filled, and the competition for the final two spots narrowed down the five pitchers, Lee is on the outside looking in. The 2010 first-round pick will now compete for a bullpen spot in the final weeks of spring training, eliminating any deep league fantasy value he may have had as a potential starter.
Lee is one of several arms competing for a rotation spot this spring, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. The former first-round pick is looking to revive his career in San Diego after failing to pan out with either the Dodgers or the Mariners. While the competition is wide open for several rotation spots, Lee seems destined for Triple-A El Paso to see if he can re-establish himself as a viable prospect.
Lee was claimed off waivers by the Padres on Tuesday. The former top prospect in the Dodgers system finally appears poised to get a long look in a MLB rotation. He was designated for assignment by the Mariners earlier this month, but the Padres have the worst big league rotation depth in recent history, so Lee should have no problem getting at least a handful of starts. Of course, there is a reason he was available on waivers. Lee posted a 6.14 ERA in 27 Triple-A starts across stops with the Mariners and Dodgers last year, and he has registered below average strikeout rates every year since 2013, making him a low-upside option in NL-only formats.
Lee was designated for assignment on Friday, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Lee was acquired by the Mariners in a trade with the Dodgers last June and figured to offer rotation depth while trying to find the stuff that made him a first-rounder and top prospect in the past. He did not accomplish the latter. The 25-year-old yielded a 7.39 ERA in 14 starts with Triple-A Tacoma and didn't see a major league inning with Seattle despite being on the 40-man roster in September.