This afternoon, the Padres designated Zach Lee for assignment, and claimed pitcher Dillon Overton off waivers from the Seattle Mariners.
Lee made just one start for San Diego and had two other relief appearances. Filling in for an injured Luis Perdomo, he looked sharp in his only start, throwing 5.1 scoreless innings, scattering two hits and four walks to go along with three strikeouts… in Coors Field! Of all the places! His relief appearances were less than stellar, however, giving up five runs in 2.2 innings, and after Perdomo returned, he was sent back down to El Paso.
Things didn’t go well for Lee in the Pacific Coast League either, and in his six starts, he’s only gotten past the fifth inning once. A 5.32 ERA and a K:BB rate of 14:15 didn’t impress anybody, and now the former first-round pick (2010 MLB Draft) will be looking elsewhere for a chance to return to the majors.
Overton was originally a second-round pick by the Oakland A’s, and was traded to the Mariners for minor league catcher Jason Goldstein in the offseason. In nine relief appearances (18.1 innings), he’s put up a 6.38 ERA, struck out eight while walking two, and had hitters bat a robust .280 against him. He’s struggled in the minors as well, with a 9.33 ERA in seven appearances – including six starts for the Tacoma Rainiers (Triple-A).
There doesn’t appear to be much of a difference in production between Overton and Lee – both are former high-round draft picks (from the same draft) in their age 25 season that are struggling in Triple-A and doing marginally better in the majors. We’ll have to trust the scouts that see something in him that can be fixed and will help him pan out. More than likely, Overton will be taking Lee’s spot in the rotation, but if he goes to the bullpen (where he was being used in the majors), it might open up a spot for a Double-A pitcher to move up, and cause a chain reaction throughout the pitching staffs in the Padres system.
As it stands now, the Chihuahua’s rotation includes Tyrell Jenkins (24 years old), Matt Magill (27 years old), Bryan Rodriguez (25 years old), and Andre Rienzo (28 years old). Kyle Lloyd (26 years old) has made three starts for El Paso, but is currently with the San Antonio Missions (Double-A).