Seung Lee started out on somewhat of a wrong foot with his professional career. The Phillies signed him as an amateur free agent in March of 2001 and by June of that season, he had undergone back surgery. He returned late in the year and seemed to suffer very few ill effects of the surgery, although he wasn't quite where the Phillies had hoped he would be before the back injury.
It looked like his back problem was a thing of the past in 2002 when he led the South Atlantic League in complete games with five and then added another at Clearwater. Before the season ended, Lee was at AA Reading and all seemed well. The downs hit in 2003 when he led the Eastern League in homeruns allowed with 21 longballs. While his numbers at Reading weren't strong in 2003, he was promoted to Scranton, although that didn't turn out well and he finished with a 23.63 ERA in two games.
For 2004, Lee was starting the season at Reading and again, didn't have great numbers, but was promoted to Scranton. Lee was also pitching more out of the bullpen than the rotation, starting just six of his 35 appearances. The results weren't so great as Lee finished with a 4.57 ERA for the Red Barons.
The Phillies will need to add Lee to the 40 man roster or he will be eligible for the Rule V Draft in December and could be grabbed by any other club. It's somewhat unlikely that the Phillies will add Lee, although they do have a big investment in him. It's also interesting to note that after signing Lee and Kim to big money contracts, the Phillies have all but pulled out of the Asian market.
|Year / Team||W||L||ERA||SV||G||IP||H||BB||KO|
|2001 Gulf Coast League||1||0||3.00||0||3||9.0||12||0||4|
|2003 Scranton Wilkes-Barre||0||2||23.63||0||2||5.1||18||0||5|
|2004 Scranton Wilkes-Barre||2||4||4.57||1||35||80.2||89||24||67|
Repertoire: Lee is the basic fastball, slider, change-up type of pitcher. His fastball hits around 90 miles per hour and his slider and change-up are both in the 80-83 mile per hour range. None of the pitches are devastating, but his fastball does have some decent movement and he's effective when he keeps it down in the zone.
Pitching: Like a lot of Asian pitchers, Lee hides the ball very well. His delivery is somewhat deceptive, but the Phillies have been unable to correct somewhat of a hesitation in his landing that he has developed especially since his back surgery. Everything is fine health wise, so there is no physical explanation for it and the Phillies believe if they were able to break him of it, he might add a little more to his pitches.
Projection: The Phillies believe strongly in protecting their investments, but it's not very likely that they'll add him to the 40 man roster, meaning that he could be lost in the Rule V Draft this December. If he is back with the Phillies, he'll likely start the year at AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre.
ETA: Lee likely won't see the majors until at least September of 2005 if then. He may get more consideration if he is still with the organization in the spring of 2006.