After days of rumour and speculation, It is official, 李振昌 (C.C. Lee) will opt-out of his contract with the Dodgers and enter the 2018 CPBL draft.
“It is the decision by my family and I. Over the past ten years, I always gave 100% during my time in the MLB system, I have no regret over it,” said the former Major Leaguer C.C Lee.
The hard-throwing RHP signed a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2018 with a spring camp invite. Prior exercising his escape clause, Lee posted a 3.91 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 41 strikeouts and 9 walks over 25.1 innings in the Triple-A.
Lee was signed out of Taiwan back in 2008 for $405,000 USD by the Cleveland Indians as an international free agent. From 2013 to 2015, he posted a combined record of a 4.50 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 33 strikeouts over 34 innings in the MLB.
C.C Lee in the 2018 CPBL Draft
With the news of C.C Lee coming back to Taiwan and enter the 2018 CPBL draft, many suspect that Lee will most likely to be drafted by the Fubon Guardians.
It is not a secret, the Guardians loves drafting players with MLB and MiLB experiences, as of 2018, there are a total of 14 Guardians players with overseas experiences. (12 MLB, 2 NPB)
There is also a factor that the currently Guardians manager 葉君璋 (Yeh Chun-Chang) used to work as a minor league coach in the Cleveland Indians system (2012-2015), and Lee always train with the Guardians during the off-season.
Depend on teams strategy. The Guardians are most likely to pick Lee. Monkeys and Lions probably not going to draft him. (I'm talking about the first three round)
Guardians skipper Yeh knows Lee quite well during his time working in the Indians organisation as coach. pic.twitter.com/O2bmONXsDM
— CPBL STATS (@GOCPBL) June 2, 2018
What We Think and Draft Predictions
At the age of 31, 李振昌 (C.C Lee) is in an interesting place when entering the CPBL draft. Generally speaking, the rule of thumb is never pick pitchers in the first three rounds of the draft, and the trend these days is to draft high school and university positional players in the early rounds.
For Lee’s case, he will be considered a “waste” if drafted in the first two rounds, but a huge steal if he is still available in third round.
But let us assuming the Fubon Guardians and Lee have already have some understanding prior the draft. Here’s our prediction on C.C Lee in the 2018 CPBL draft.
- First round draft pick by the Fubon Guardians.
- Salary around $100,000 to 140,000 USD.
李振昌 (C.C. Lee): All You Need to Know
- 21 October 1986.
- 180cm/ 86kg.
- Right-handed Pitcher (3/4 delivery).
- Max velocity 98mph.
- Signed as international free agent in 2008 for $405,000 USD by the Cleveland Indians.
- Made MLB debut with the Indians in 2013.
- 2016 signed with NPB’s Seibu Lions for $770,000 USD.
- 2017 signed minor league deal (Triple-A) with the Colorado Rockies.
- 2018 signed minor league deal (Triple-A) with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
With a fastball that touches 98 mph, it seems like Lee would step in almost immediately as the top closer in the CPBL once he is drafted. That sounds like a he’d be worth at least a 2nd round draft pick, even if every team elects to select a younger prospect in the first round.
It certainly seems like Fubon could use more relief pitching, and since they presumably spent big on Bruce Billings and Bryan Woodall, not to mention the former Brothers they signed, drafting Lee would give them a better chance of competing for the post-season in the second half.
Not sure about his velocity in 2018, because I don’t have the MiLB TV subscription. But from what I heard he can still hit over 93mph this year in the Triple-A this year. His throws about 94mph during his time in the NPB about 2 years ago.
I think ideally, we are going to see the Guardians try to convert Lee into starting role if they are going to draft him in the first round. But yeah, with the former Dodgers’ Hong-Chih Kuo’s retiring after 2018, Lee can basically take over Kuo’s role as a late inning reliever or like you said, a closer role.
As for draft, at the moment, I’m putting Lee as first round pick by the Guardians. or 3rd round pick by others. But that’s without knowing which other young prospects will enter the 2018 draft. I can probably make a more accurate call once I see the final list.
Lee would also likely be good for the box office as a Taiwanese player with MLB major league experience.
For him to make an impact in the box office, Lee needs to be a starting pitcher. And basically get him to start on every Sunday or Friday. Shall Lee joining the Guardians, the Guardians will have 6 Taiwanese players with former MLB experience in 2018 roster. 7 if you count their vice-gm who’s also a former Dodgers.