Dodgers Name Zach Lee and Alex Verdugo As Branch Rickey Minor League Pitcher/Player of the Year

LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Dodgers today named right-handed pitcher Zach Lee as the Branch Rickey Minor League Pitcher of the Year and outfielder Alex Verdugo as the Minor League Player of the Year.

Lee, who turned 24 on September 13, was honored as the Dodgers' Branch Rickey Minor League Pitcher of the Year for the second time (also: 2013) after ranking among the Pacific Coast League leaders (min. 100 IP) in wins (11, T-3rd), ERA (2.70, 2nd), WHIP (1.11, 1st), strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.26, 3rd) and allowed an average of only 0.40 home runs per nine innings (3rd).

Lee opened the season very strong, going 5-3 with a 2.38 ERA (15 ER/56.2 IP) and posted an ERA under 3.00 in each of the season's first two months with a 1.80 ERA (5 ER/25.0 IP) in four April starts and a 2.84 mark (10 ER/31.2 IP) in six May starts. He held opposing batters to a .257 average, while limiting the opposition to a .210 average with runners in scoring position throughout the season.

The Texas native made two stints with Los Angeles this season, including his Major League debut with his first career start against the New York Mets on July 25. Lee was selected with the 28th overall pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of McKinney (Texas) High School.

Verdugo opened the season with Single-A Great Lakes in his second professional season, where he ranked among the team leaders in batting average (.295, 5th), hits (124, 1st), doubles (23, 2nd), home runs (5, T-2nd), RBI (42, 3rd), total bases (163, 2nd) and stolen base (13, 2nd) in 101 games. He had a season-high 14-game hitting streak from June 16-July 2 and batted a league-best .349 (66-for-189) with nine doubles, four home runs, 87 total bases, 20 RBI, seven stolen bases and a .832 OPS in 44 second-half games to earn a selection to the Midwest League's Postseason All-Star Team.

Verdugo, who turned 19 on May 15, was promoted to Single-A Rancho Cucamonga on August 14 and helped lead the Quakes to a 2015 California League championship, its first title since 1994. He batted .385 (35-for-91) with nine doubles, two triples, four home runs and 19 RBI along with a .406 OBP and a .659 SLG in 23 games for the Quakes, while posting a .323 average (10-for-31) with a .400 OBP, a double, a homer and seven RBI in eight postseason games. On August 26, he hit for his first career cycle and finished the season with a seven-game hitting streak (September 1-7), while also being honored as the league's Offensive Player of the week for the period August 31-September 7, batting .577 (15-for-26) with four doubles, two home runs and 10 RBI.

The Arizona native batted .311 (159-for-512) with 32 doubles, four triples, nine home runs and 61 RBI along with a .340 OBP and a .441 SLG in 124 combined games for the Loons and the Quakes. He was also exceptional in both levels with runners in scoring position, batting a combined .316 (37-for-117) with eight doubles and a triple. Verdugo was selected by the Dodgers in the second round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of Sahuaro High School in Arizona.

Both Lee and Verdugo will be honored in an on-field pregame ceremony prior to Friday's 7:10 p.m. game against the Padres.

 

Branch Rickey Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year: 1989-2015

Year       Player of the Year/Pitcher of the Year

1989       Mike Huff, Albuquerque (OF)/Jim Poole, Vero Beach (LHP)

1990       Henry Rodriguez, San Antonio (OF)/Jamie McAndrew, Bakersfield/San Antonio (RHP)

1991       Eric Karros, Albuquerque (IB)/Pedro Martinez, San Antonio/Albuquerque (RHP)

1992       Mike Piazza, San Antonio/Albuquerque (C)/Todd Williams, Bakersfield/San Antonio (RHP)

1993       Billy Ashley, Albuquerque (OF)/Kip Gross, Albuquerque (RHP)

1994       Billy Ashley, Albuquerque (OF)/Greg Hansell, Albuquerque (RHP)

1995       Adam Riggs, San Bernardino (IF)/Gary Rath, San Antonio/Albuquerque (LHP)

1996       Paul Konerko, San Antonio/Albuquerque (IF)/Billy Neal, Vero Beach (RHP)

1997       Paul Konerko, Albuquerque (IF)/Dennys Reyes, San Antonio/Albuquerque (LHP)

1998       Angel Peña, San Antonio (C)/Luke Prokopec, San Bernardino/San Antonio (RHP)

1999       Chin-Feng Chen, San Bernardino (OF)/ Eric Gagné , San Antonio (RHP)

2000       Joe Thurston, San Bernardino (IF)/Carlos Garcia, San Bernardino (RHP)

2001       Phil Hiatt, Las Vegas (IF)/Ricardo Rodriguez, Vero Beach (LHP)

2002       Joe Thurston, Las Vegas (IF)/Edwin Jackson, South Georgia (RHP)

2003       Franklin Gutierrez, VB/Jacksonville (OF)/ Greg Miller, Vero Beach/Jacksonville (LHP)

2004       Joel Guzman, Vero Beach/Jacksonville (OF)/Chad Billingsley, Vero Beach/Jacksonville (RHP)

2005       Andy LaRoche, Vero Beach/Jacksonville (IF)/Chad Billingsley, Jacksonville (RHP)

2006       James Loney, Las Vegas (1B)/Mark Alexander, Jacksonville/Las Vegas (RHP)

2007       Chin-lung Hu, Jacksonville/Las Vegas (IF)/James McDonald, Inland Empire/Jacksonville (RHP)

2008       Ivan De Jesus, Jr., Jacksonville (IF)/James McDonald, Jacksonville/Los Angeles (RHP)

2009       Dee Gordon, Great Lakes (IF)/Scott Elbert, Chattanooga/Albuquerque/Los Angeles (LHP)

2010       Jerry Sands, Great Lakes/Chattanooga (IF/OF)/ Rubby De La Rosa, Great Lakes/Chattanooga (RHP)

2011       Scott Van Slyke, Chattanooga (IF/OF)/ Shawn Tolleson, Great Lakes/Rancho/Chattanooga (RHP)

2012       Joc Pederson, Rancho Cucamonga (OF)/ John Ely, Albuquerque (RHP)

2013       Scott Schebler, Rancho Cucamonga (OF)/Zach Lee, Chattanooga (RHP)

2014       Joc Pederson, Albuquerque (OF),Corey Seager, Rancho Cucamonga/Chattanooga (IF)/Julio Urias, Rancho Cucamonga (LHP)

2015       Alex Verdugo, Great Lakes/Rancho Cucamonga (OF)/Zach Lee, Oklahoma City (RHP)