The Dodgers selecting Texas high school right-hander Zach Lee with the 28th overall pick last night raised some eyebrows because he was considered one of the draft’s most “unsignable” prospects and they’re rumored to be cutting corners in the wake of owner Frank McCourt’s divorce.
ESPN ranks Lee as the country’s ninth-best prep quarterback and he’s headed for LSU, unless of course the Dodgers can convince him to put football aside. Lee is reportedly asking for as much as $5 million to sign, which is a big part of why he was available with the 28th pick in the first place.
If the Dodgers don’t sign Lee they’ll get a compensation pick in essentially the same spot next year, basically delaying any investment in the pick. Or maybe the Dodgers actually do intend to sign Lee, in which case they’ll have gotten a premium talent in a less-than-premium draft position. Assistant general manager Logan White runs the Dodgers’ draft and said the following about picking Lee:
I’m optimistic we’re going to make our best effort, definitely our best effort, to get out there and get this done. I would say I’m cautiously optimistic. As the summer plays out, you’ll see the effort will be made. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that we’re going to get him to sign. It’s really going to be Zach’s decision.
I understand the concern. I can only give you my word. I’ve always been straight up. I’ve always tried to take the best player. If I think the player is the 28th-best player in the country, we certainly pay him like the 28th player. But if I think his ability is a little bit better than that, we certainly recognize that.
Frank [McCourt] has always been very aware of what we’re doing and what’s going on. He’s very much a big supporter and very on board with it. I don’t mean it bragging, but when you look at our major-league team and what we’ve been able to do with the draft and the international signs, you see why he’s a supporter.
White and the Dodgers will (probably) be trying to keep Lee away from LSU, but this afternoon they drafted LSU outfielder Leon Landry with the 109th overall pick.