Baby Birdland's 2017 Mid-Season Top 15 Baltimore Orioles' Prospects: #14 LHP Chris Lee

Just as we did after the conclusion of the 2016 season, the writers here at Baby Birdland, as well as our primary photo supplier Patrick Cavey, all submitted a Top 15 list and we averaged those lists together to get our all encompassing Baltimore Orioles Top 15 Prospects list. Continuing on with our in-depth look at each of the Top 15 Orioles’ prospects, we have reached #14, LHP Chris Lee.

2016 With AA Bowie
Photo: Patrick Cavey

Lee, 24 (turns 25 in August), was one of the prospects that I was really looking forward to seeing how they performed this year because he was healthy after a injury-plagued 2016, is on the 40-man roster, and appeared to be a guy who could possibly help the Orioles in 2017.

Unfortunately, things have not quite worked out the way he or the Orioles would have hoped.

Lee is having a rough year for the AAA Norfolk Tides. As of July 20th, Lee is 3-5 with a 6.21 ERA and an enormous 1.83 WHIP. He has really struggled with his command having walked 42 and hitting seven over 82.2 innings pitched. In addition, he has allowed 109 hits over that stretch.

With numbers like that, you may be wondering how he still makes our list, but keep in mind that we do not just judge by statistics, but the skill set and what we see with our own eyes.

Despite the poor numbers this year, Lee still has a great repertoire of pitches and since joining the Orioles' organization, his mechanics have greatly improved. He owns a fastball that normally sits 89-92 (have seen him top at 96), and has an above average slider and a decent changeup.

So what gives with the struggles this season?

From what I have seen, Lee's release point has seemed off a lot this season, and it's entirely possible that he is also a bit fatigued considering he only accrued 51.1 innings pitched last season due to injury.

It's also important to point out that this is the first time Lee has pitched at the AAA level and had just 15 appearances at the AA level prior to this season. This is easily the highest level of competition Lee has faced and will be a good learning experience for him. Despite his rough year thus far, we still feel that Lee is among the Top 15 prospects in the Orioles' system.

Of the five lists submitted by Baby Birdland writers, Lee appeared on three of them and was ranked as high as 10th.

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