KISSIMMEE, FLA. — Chris Lee looks to build on the success of his 2013 campaign, as he begins his ascent through the Houston Astros organization.
Lee, a stalky left-handed pitcher drafted in the fourth round in 2011 out of Santa Fe Community College (Gainesville, Fla.), has been stuck for the last three seasons in rookie ball playing for the Greeneville Astros of the Appalachian League.
However, Lee had his best year as a professional in 2013 reaching career bests in ERA, innings pitched, strikeouts and WHIP. He hopes his career year has opened the eyes of the coaches in the organization, as Lee is looking to take on a bigger role heading into this season.
“My expectations are to break out with the long season club this year and get my foot in the door, the first step on my way up to the top”, said Lee. “I’m blessed to still have a uniform on my back, and I’m still working hard to live my dream.”
While Lee attempts to impress his coaches at Astros spring training camp, he has continued to stay in touch with one of his old coaches for advice.
Kenny Norman, a former sixth round pick of the Minnesota Twins in the 1989 MLB draft, was Lee’s high school baseball coach at T.R. Robinson High School in Tampa Bay and the two have remained in touch to this day.
“He is still a great contact. I consider him part of my family,” Lee said. “He still helps me out here and there, gives me good advice and things I need to work on. I still send him videos of my delivery and he sends it to other professionals to help me out.”
Lee benefitted from Norman’s help when he was in high school, as Norman used some of his major league contacts to help the young pitchers with various aspects of his game.
“He had various professionals back when he was in the Twins organization helping me out, help me with my fielding, help tracking my velocity,” Lee said. “It really helped me become a polished pitcher.”
One of the ways Lee hopes to impress his coaches this year it by adding to his pitch repertoire. Lee is known as a power pitcher with his fastball hitting 96 miles-per-hour regularly, but he has added a cutter to his arsenal this off-season.
“My best off speed pitch is probably my curveball, but I’ve been working on a cutter this off-season that I’m excited about,” said Lee, who was quick to ensure that his fastball was still his go-to pitch.