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Zach Lee Scheduled to Start on Sunday

Zach Lee

With the injury to Brett Anderson the Dodgers are turning their attention to finding his replacement in the starting rotation. The club announced that rookie Zach Lee will start on Sunday against the Giants at Scottsdale Stadium.

It’s an interesting choice as Lee is considered to be extremely low on the current depth chart. However it is his scheduled day to pitch anyways. The Dodgers have quite a few candidates that will be competing for the fifth starter spot. Right now Brandon Beachy and Mike Bolsinger are the leading candidates with Julio Urias, Jose De Leon, Ross Stripling, and Chase Anderson also in the mix.

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Urias is battling a sore groin, but was able to throw a bullpen session without issues on Friday. The Dodgers are obviously being very careful with him. De Leon is also batteling an injury as well. He has a sore ankle and skipped fielding drills. Brandon Beachy pitched a bullpen session and Bolsinger threw two scoreless innings with two whiffs and one hit allowed on Friday afternoon in the Dodger’s 3-3 tie against the Rangers.

The competition for the vacant rotation spot is now a pretty hot topic across the Dodger blogosphere. The kids (Urias, De Leon, Stripling) would be a good choice, but we know the Dodgers don’t want to rush them. That’s understandable, although I’ve said before that if it were up to me I would probably just choose one of those three to make some starts in the early part of the season. Urias and De Leon are nursing minor injuries though and the Dodgers should absolutely be cautious.

Anderson could be an intriguing option if the Dodgers want to go that route. However Anderson has struggled in the minors since advancing to the double-A and triple-A levels. Stripling is coming off of Tommy John surgery. As for Beachy, I doubt he’s a reliable option. Nay, I don’t doubt, I know it. He’s just another reclamation project the Dodgers scrounged off the trash heap.

I’ve said it before, but the sensible option here is probably Mike Bolsinger. I will be campaigning heavily for him to get the spot. (A vote for Bolsinger is a vote for logic!) Everyone should get a look in spring, but Bolsinger should be the top choice if they are not going to pitch one of the prospects. You know how much I like sensible options. Bolsinger is healthy, and gives you a solid chance to win the game. He’s just not flashy.

Lee on the other hand has really fallen down on the depth chart in recent years. The Dodgers drafted Lee in the first round of the 2010 draft when he was just eighteen years old. He’s spent virtually his entire career in the minors save for one brief spot start for the big club in 2015.

Lee recently had a bounce back season after having a poor 2014 and some previous mediocre seasons. Lee posted an 11-6 record with a 2.70 ERA in 19 starts for Oklahoma City last season. He walked just 19 and struck out 81 in 113.1 innings pitched. That helped him earn minor league pitcher of the year honors for the second time in his career. He’s posted a 3.87 ERA in 646.1 minor league innings with a 7.1 K/9 rate. Lee has a 45-41 record and has allowed a 9.1 H/9 innings pitched rate.

It’s sure to be quite a competition this spring. Who’s your favorite for the number five spot?

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

11 thoughts on “Zach Lee Scheduled to Start on Sunday

  1. I totally disagree on Bolsinger. He does not go very deep into games. His fastball could not break glass. He did a decent job last year, but I do not think the guy is that good. Let us see what the kid Lee has first…..

  2. Lee supposedly doesn’t have an out pitch but he is ranked #1 among prospects in control. Can Maddux take him to the next step? I put Lee as first choice to be the #5 followed by Bolsinger.

  3. Well I believe I have been out front with my choice…Zach Lee. I do look forward to watching Lee. Scott, I think the appropriate adjective for Bolsinger is safe more than logical. As Michael said, he really is a 5 inning pitcher. He really starts to drop off third time thru lineup. He pitched well last year, and was a sub 3.00 ERA on September 4. But can he improve on that?

    Lee is not overpowering either, but he does have outstanding control. Maybe Maddux can give him that one hint so that he can command his pitches to the spots. Do not discount a 2.7 ERA in the PCL. Outside of Tacoma, most PCL stadiums are very hitter friendly. A lot of people knock Joc’s AAA accomplishments because it was done in the PCL, but when a pitcher can get a sub 3.00 ERA in the same league it is not good enough.

    Zach deserves the chance to shine. But for whatever reason I do not believe he is a FAZ favorite, and Bolsinger is. And no I am not a conspiracy theorist that believes that it is because Lee is not a FAZ player and Bolsinger is.

  4. I say wait and see what Lee does Sunday. But it does look like Bolsinger is the one with the most experience, and you may not like the way he pitches, but he gets results, so I would go with the pitcher, that gets results. I think he was upset last year, when Latos came over, and Bolsinger, was put aside, and his dad was upset his son didn’t get the starts, after be sucessful, so some of his decline, I think was mental, so I agree with you Scott.

  5. I have no clue who will be the fifth starter as I think it will be an open competition with all of the following pitchers being in the mix:

    De Leon
    Urias (yes, he could for part of the season)

    Now, most of those names will drop off quickly and I have no predictions who will prevail, but I will say this about each prospect:

    Beachy It all boils down to whether his arm is healthy after a second TJ. He’s a bulldog, hard worker and once had plus stuff. Can he regain it – mentally and physically? That is the question. Stay tuned.

    Lee – I have never seen him as a major league starter. I was never a fan because he does not have one really good pitch. He has four average pitches. But, maybe he changes that and comes up with a pitch like Joe Blanton did… or not. He’s a nice kid, but I can’t see it.

    Bolsinger – A year ago, no one had heard of him. Now, he has been a solid performer. He has had difficulty pitching past 4 or 5 innings, but if that changes, he has a good shot!

    Frias – I see him as a swingman, but he has a live arm and he’s a year older – he’s in the mix!

    Cotton – It would be a longshot, but he came a long way in just 2015. I see him as a reliever, but he has a chance.

    De Leon – I think he needs at least half a season at AAA, but what if he pitches “lights out” right now. Yes, he’s it if he does!

    Stripling – A couple of years ago, he was on the cusp of a callup. If he’s recovered from TJ, he has the upside of a Number 3.

    Urias – Yes, he has a shot even if he’s only 19. They might let him pitch 150 innings and if he’s unhittable this spring, he could be it. Likely not, but possible. If you can play, you can play!

    Sierra – Sierra is a Mist to me, and I think he is a reliever, but he’s in the mix – just watch to see.

    I don’t have a horse in this race – just get me stud!

  6. I read somewhere this morning Stripling, De Leon, Urias, and Bolsinger will all get starts sometime this year. I think it’s safe to say Beachy and Lee will get a shot, and I would not be surprised to see Cotton and Frias thrown out there if others don’t step up. Not going out on any limb saying the Dodgers will again lead the league in number of starters used. It might actually work out.

  7. Lee was a little shaky in the first, Crawford’s error did not help. But a solid 2nd. Stripling looked great. Crawford made up for the error with a run scoring triple, and drove in 2. Culberson drove in 2 late to pad the lead. Overall nice day at the yard. Beating the Gnats is always fun….

  8. Pederson looks lost up there. 5 k’s in 6 at bats. I think there is a real possibility the kid opens the season at OKC if he does not come around. Thompson looks more than comfortable in CF…

  9. Joc is working on some new things. The results so far are the same but it might take a while to get it going. Hopefully he trusts Ward. If not, it could remain ugly for a long time. It would appear he’s not close, but one good at bat could change that.

    1. I totally agree Badger. The one thing Rick Monday noted on the broadcast was that Joc changed his approach every single at bat and nothing worked. It could get very ugly…

      1. I haven’t seen much, but what I have seen tells me he still has an aggressive, long overswing. My suggestion of shortening up isn’t happening. If he keeps swinging at every pitch like he’s in a home run contest it just won’t work and he’s finished. It’s early. Contact could begin any day.

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