Derek Lee (minors02)
From BR Bullpen
Robert Derek Lee
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 3", Weight 215 lb.
- School Texas Christian University
 Biographical Information
Derek Lee spent three full seasons and three partial seasons in AAA yet never made the majors.
Lee was 7-3 with a 5.04 ERA as a college junior in 1996. The Milwaukee Brewers selected him in the 27th round of the 1996 amateur draft. He made his pro debut in 1997, going 4-4 with a 3.87 ERA for the Ogden Raptors; he struck out 71 and walked 20 in 74 1/3 IP. He was 8th in the Pioneer League in ERA (between Dustin Robinson and Josh Harris) and 7th in strikeouts (between Pete Zamora and Sam Goure). He was named the All-Star lefty pitcher. He had a 5-9, 4.17 record for the 1998 Stockton Ports and whiffed 141 in 136 innings. He tied Kevin Gregg for 5th in the California League in Ks and was 4th in the Brewers chain (between Brian Passini and Allen Levrault).
His K rate fell drastically with the '99 Huntsville Stars (77 K in 140 IP, 8-8, 3.86). He was 10th in the Southern League in ERA. He split 2000 between Huntsville (11-2, 2.54 in 28 G) and the Indianapolis Indians (2-0, 4.72), making AAA. He tied Travis Smith for third in the Milwaukee minors in wins, behind Jose Mieses and Horacio Estrada. In the SL, he improved to 5th in ERA (between Brian Lawrence and Josh Fogg). He repeated at AA with Huntsville in 2001, though, not making it to AAA at all. He had his third solid season for the Stars (7-11, 3.38). He tied Chris Gissell and Eric Junge for 4th in the SL in defeats but made the top 10 in ERA yet again (8th, between Chris Baker and Chris Cumberland). Among Brewer farmhands, he tied Carlos Chantres and John Snyder for second in losses, two behind Matt Childers.
Derek reported to (where else?) Huntsville in 2002 and went 5-10 with a 3.04 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 127 1/3 IP. He was second in the Southern League in ERA (.08 behind leader Vinny Chulk) though sixth in losses. Josh Stewart beat him out as the SL All-Star left-handed pitcher. Among Milwaukee's minor leaguers, he tied Tim Harikkala for 7th in defeats but only Matt Yeatman and Ben Hendrickson posted better ERAs among those with 100+ innings pitched. In '03, Lee was with Huntsville (11-3, 3.30 in 20 G) and finally got a second look with Indianapolis (2-4, 3.75 in 14 G). He tied Roman Colon and Heath Totten for third in the SL in wins (one behind Enemencio Pacheco and Cory Stewart). Had he qualified, he would have made the top 10 in ERA again at 9th. He led Milwaukee farmhands in wins.
Lee moved to the Toronto Blue Jays system for 2004 and went 1-3 with a 3.38 ERA for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, only fanning 19 in 56 IP. In 2005, he did well with the independent Somerset Patriots (4-2, 2.45 in 10 G) and got another chance, this time with his "hometown" Texas Rangers. He had a 5-2, 3.86 record for the Oklahoma City RedHawks). He remained with the RedHawks in 2006 (6-12, 4.26), tying Tim Stauffer for third in the 2006 PCL in losses. Among Rangers minor leaguers, he tied Zach Phillips for 4th in that category. He was 1-3 with a 4.70 ERA for the 2007 RedHawks.
He went 2-2 with a 3.72 ERA for the 2007-2008 Águilas Cibaeñas of the Dominican Winter League. In the 2008 Caribbean Series, he allowed one run in four innings in a start against the Tigres de Aragua. His team won 3-1 and Francisco Cruceta got credit for the win as Lee did not go five innings. He was busy that summer, appearing for the Frisco RoughRiders (1-3, 5.40 in 5 G), Oklahoma (0-3, 5.06 in 3 G), the Sultanes de Monterrey (8-3, 3.45 in 16 G) and the Petroleros de Minatitlan (0-1, 3.72). He was 0-2 with a 16.50 ERA for the Águilas Cibaeñas that winter to end his career.
In 12 minor league seasons, Lee was 81-84 with a 3.61 ERA in 296 games (224 starts) and saved one game. He struck out 1,013 and walked 447 in 1,459 2/3 IP while giving up 1,526 hits. He hit .170/.222/.215 with 10 runs and 8 RBI in 156 plate appearances.