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Is C.C. Lee going to be an important part of the Indians bullpen in 2015?

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CC Lee is in no way, shape or form like CC or Lee, but the right-handed reliever has a chance to join Francona’s pen next year.

CC Lee submarining
CC Lee submarining
Leon Halip

Every day you'll find a look back at the 2014 season for one of the Indians or their key prospects, as we sort out what happened and what it means for the franchise going forward.

C.C. (Chen-Chang) Lee

  • Position: Right-handed Relief Pitcher
  • Age: 26
  • Acquired: International free agent, 2008

Part of the international signings in 2008, Lee signed for $400k out of Taiwan. He began his professional stateside career in Kinston in 2009. He made a total of 45 relief appearance but managed to pitch 83.1 innings. As a 22 year old in high A ball, he had an impressive 10.5 K/9 while managing a 1.14 WHIP, 3.46 K/BB ratio and 3.13 FIP.

Bumped up to Akron for 2010, he continued to put up good numbers, 10.2 K/9, 1.11 WHIP, 3.73 K/BB ratio and 3.25 FIP. Wanting to see even more of Lee, the front office sent him to the Arizona Fall League where he was hit pretty hard, albeit in just six innings.

Lee began 2011 again in Akron, but moved up Columbus in late June. He arguably put up his best stats that year. In 44 outings, he pitched 71.1 innings, had a 1.07 WHIP, 12.5 K/9, 4.3 K/BB ratio and about a 2.45 FIP.

Had he kept on that path, he likely would have made his Indian debut in 2012, but it was not to be because he only appeared in 5 games before having TJ surgery. He made his first appearance back on May 29, 2013 for Lake County, and after two scoreless appearances, went to Akron for eight more one inning outings. The coaches must have liked what they saw, because after only six outings in Columbus, he made his Tribe debut against the Royals on July 17. He was only up for a a week, spent August back in Columbus and returned to Cleveland for the playoff push in September.

He had a decent shot at making the pen in spring training this year, but the Indians went with Atchison instead. But a week into the season, he got called back up. He made the shuttle trip back to Columbus in mid-May, back up for a pair of games in July, back to Columbus for a week  and back to stay with the Indians on August 7. In his 25 games for the Clippers, he looked great again, 11.1 K/9, 4.11 K/BB ration, a.27 WHIP and 2.42 FIP. His major league numbers were not that impressive however. He had a 8.4 K/9, 2.2 K/BB ratio, 1.50 WHIP, 4.28 FIP covering his 28 innings in 37 appearances in Cleveland.

2014 Grade: B-

While Lee's numbers looked pretty good in AAA, it didn't appear he is at the same dominating pace prior to TJ. He actually pitched ok for the Tribe, but not overpowering.

2015 Outlook

Lee is definitely another option for the pen heading into next season. But as I noted before, I think Austin Adams may have moved a rung higher than him already. At worst, Lee will ride the shuttle bus again, filling in for injuries and/or ineffectiveness out of the pen. Although he isn't arbitration eligible until 2017 and not a free agent until 2020, 2015 will likely be his last shot as he has had two options burned already.

Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF ERA+ FIP WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W Awards
2009 22 CLE-min A+ 4 6 .400 3.35 45 0 10 0 0 2 83.1 67 33 31 5 28 1 97 9 0 4 350 1.140 7.2 0.5 3.0 10.5 3.46 KIN · CARL
2010 23 CLE-min AA 5 4 .556 3.22 44 0 12 0 0 0 72.2 59 30 26 6 22 0 82 4 0 6 300 1.115 7.3 0.7 2.7 10.2 3.73 AKR · EL
2011 24 CLE-min AA,AAA 6 1 .857 2.40 44 0 18 0 0 1 71.1 53 25 19 3 23 2 99 7 0 6 290 1.065 6.7 0.4 2.9 12.5 4.30 AKR,CLB · EL,IL
2012 25 CLE-min AAA 2 0 1.000 2.57 5 0 1 0 0 0 7.0 5 2 2 1 1 0 8 0 0 1 27 0.857 6.4 1.3 1.3 10.3 8.00 CLB · IL
2013 26 CLE-min AAA,AA,A 1 0 1.000 2.48 29 0 6 0 0 0 29.0 18 8 8 1 10 0 37 2 1 0 113 0.966 5.6 0.3 3.1 11.5 3.70 CLB,AKR,LCO · IL,EL,MIDW
2013 26 CLE AL 0 0 4.15 8 0 1 0 0 0 4.1 4 3 2 0 3 0 4 1 0 0 22 100 3.97 1.615 8.3 0.0 6.2 8.3 1.33
2014 27 CLE-min AAA 0 1 .000 3.30 25 0 7 0 0 3 30.0 29 12 11 1 9 0 37 2 0 2 127 1.267 8.7 0.3 2.7 11.1 4.11 CLB · IL
2014 27 CLE AL 1 1 .500 4.50 37 0 6 0 0 0 28.0 30 15 14 3 12 1 26 3 0 3 127 84 4.27 1.500 9.6 1.0 3.9 8.4 2.17
2 Yrs 1 1 .500 4.45 45 0 7 0 0 0 32.1 34 18 16 3 15 1 30 4 0 3 149 86 4.23 1.515 9.5 0.8 4.2 8.4 2.00
162 Game Avg. 2 2 .500 4.45 68 0 11 0 0 0 49 51 27 24 5 23 2 45 6 0 5 225 86 4.23 1.515 9.5 0.8 4.2 8.4 2.00
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/26/2014.