Each week through Spring Training the DTTWLN staff will profile and break down the players in camp for the Indians at Goodyear, Arizona and examine their potential roles for the season to come. This week, we kick off our Goodyear coverage by breaking down some of the 22 spring invitees invited to big league camp by the Tribe.
By Mike Brandyberry
According to the Urban Dictionary, Chen Lee is the toughest thing in the world, even the universe and has the ability to destroy even ninjas. For the non-roster invitee Chen Lee, he’ll have to pitch that tough in Indians’ camp to find himself headed north with the Tribe for Opening Day.
Lee, who is 25-years old entering camp, was a non-drafted international free agent signing by the Indians in 2008. He spent his first year as a professional at A-Kinston in 2009, followed by a successful year at AA-Akron in 2010. A year ago, he started the year with the Aeros before being promoted to AAA-Columubs.
Last season he was 2-1, with a 2.50 ERA in 39.2 innings pitched at Akron, then pitched even better at Columbus, going 4-0, with a 2.27 ERA in 31.2 innings. Throughout his minor league progression Lee has been used mostly as a right-handed set up or middle reliever, but once September call ups saw much of the Clippers’ bullpen promoted to Cleveland, he became the closer. Lee saved his final appearance of the regular season before becoming the closer for the Clippers in their International League Championship and closing the decisive AAA National Championship Game.
Like last year, Lee will most likely split time between two levels, only this year it could be Columbus and Cleveland. With the five back end spots of the bullpen all but locked down, several pitchers will be competing for the final two spots. Lefty Nick Hagadone has to be considered a favorite for one, while incumbent Frank Herrmann and veteran Dan Wheeler should be the leaders from the right side.
If someone were to stumble, Lee could be the man to assume the open position. However, Lee will most likely go to Columbus where he will pitch on a regular basis and could be one of the first calls when a Tribe reliever struggles or is injured.
Photo: Indians Prospect Insider