Getting to CHS Field

Saints Sign Hard Throwing Triple-A Lefty, Chris Lee

ST. PAUL, MN July 27, 2019

The St. Paul Saints continue to be one of only three teams with a sub 4.00 ERA in the American Association, but when you can grab a Triple-A left-handed arm you go out and do it.  The Saints signed Chris Lee, who was at Triple-A Norfolk this season to help strengthen their pitching staff.


          The 26-year-old Lee was 3-2 with a 5.91 ERA in 18 games with the Norfolk Tides this season.  In 45.2 innings pitched he walked 22 and struck out 46 while opponents hit .306 against him. He struck out a hitter in 13 consecutive relief appearances from May 2-June 23.  Lee was utilized more than just a 1.0 inning reliever, tossing multiple innings 14 times, including 4.0 or more three times.  In games Lee pitched at least 3.0 innings he had a 2.20 ERA, including throwing 4.0 shutout innings allowing one hit and striking out five on April 14 vs. Toledo.  He also threw 4.0 shutout innings allowing two hits while striking out four on May 2 vs. Charlotte and 5.0 shutout innings allowing one hit on May 14 at Toledo.


          Lee was originally selected in the 37th round by the Chicago White Sox in 2010 out of T.R. Robinson (FL) High School, but did not sign and went to Santa Fe (FL) Community College.  The moved paid off as Lee was selected in the fourth round of the 2011 draft by the Houston Astros.


          Lee spent his first three seasons in professional baseball with the Greenville Astros of the Rookie Appalachian League.  In his first pro season in 2011 he went 1-5 with a 5.18 ERA in 13 starts.  In 48.2 innings pitched he walked 34 and struck out 47 while opponents hit .279 against him.  He finished the season strong allowing just one earned run over his final 12.0 innings pitched.


          In 2012, Lee pitched in just five games going 1-2 with an 11.42 ERA in five games (three starts).


          He righted the ship in 2013 going 2-2 with a 3.10 ERA in 11 games (10 starts).  In 49.1 innings pitched he walked 17 and struck out 5 while opponents hit a microscopic .207 against him.  He struck out seven hitters twice and eight hitters twice.  His best performance was actually his lone relief appearance going 5.0 shutout innings allowing two hits while fanning seven on July 4 vs. Bristol.  His team reached the playoffs, but lost in the Appalachian League Championship Series two-games-to-none to the Pulaski Mariners.


          Lee was finally promoted and spent all of 2014 at Single-A Quad Cities where he was solid going 8-6 with a 3.66 ERA in 28 games (16 starts).  In 113.0 innings pitched he walked 51 and struck out 75 while opponents hit .275 against him.  As a starter, he went 5-3 with a 3.20 ERA.  Lee had eight appearances of at least 4.0 innings and one or no runs.  He got stronger as the season went along going 6-1 with a 2.91 ERA following the All-Star break.


          In 2015 Lee began the season at Quad Cities, going 3-2 with a 4.11 ERA, before being traded to the Houston Astros organization on May 19 for international bonus slot money.  The Astros placed him at High-A Frederick where he was 3-6 with a 3.07 ERA in 14 starts.  In 76.1 innings pitched he walked 29 and struck out 48 while opponents hit .266 against him.  Lee had seven starts of at least 6.0 innings allowing two or fewer runs and had only three starts in which he allowed more than three earned runs.  His strongest outing was his last, going 7.0 shutout innings on four hits while striking out six on August 1 vs. Myrtle Beach.  That got him promoted to Double-A Bowie on August 3 where he went 4-2 with a 3.08 ERA in seven starts.  In 37.0 innings pitched he walked 20 and struck out 26 while opponents hit just .232 against him.  He never allowed more than three runs in any of his seven starts, including three starts of at least 5.2 innings and one or no runs.  His team made the playoffs and won the Eastern League Championship Series three-games-to-two over the Reading Fightin Phils.


          Lee was off to a fast start in 2016 at Bowie before a left shoulder injury shut down his season.  He was 5-0 with a 2.98 ERA in eight games (seven starts).  In 51.1 innings he walked 13 and struck out 19 while opponents hit .222 against him.  He went at least 6.0 innings in every appearance and allowed two or fewer runs in six of eight appearances.  Following the season he was rated as the #7 prospect in the Orioles organization by Baseball America.


          In 2017, Lee spent the entire season at Norfolk and went 5-6 with a 5.11 ERA in 27 games (20 starts).  In 116.1 innings pitched he walked 54 and struck out 83 while opponents hit .302 against him.  In his seven relief appearances he went 1-1 with a 1.48 ERA striking out 18 in 24.1 innings pitched.  In his six losses, he posted a 12.49 ERA (31 ER, 22.1 IP); in his other 21 outings, he registered a 3.35 ERA (35 ER, 94.0 IP).  Following the season Lee was rated as the #9 prospect in the Orioles organization.


          Last season Lee once again battled through an injury beginning the season on the disabled list before joining Norfolk where he went 0-2 with a 10.64 ERA in five games (three starts).  He was once again placed on the disabled list and  was shut down for six weeks on June 1 with a shoulder injury.  He pitched three games in a rehab stint with the GCL Orioles beginning on July 20 before being sent to Double-A Bowie.  While with the Baysox he went 1-1 with a 3.50 ERA in 10 relief appearances.  In 18.0 innings he walked seven and struck out 14 while opponents hit .338 against him.  He didn’t allow a run over five straight relief appearances spanning 9.0 innings from August 17-31.


          In order to make room for Lee on the roster the Saints placed relief pitcher Landon Beck on the disabled list.


          The Saints roster stands at 22, one shy of the league maximum, with 10 pitchers and 12 position players.