The pipeline of Major League Baseball talent that is the Sammamish Plateau pumped out another prospect last Friday.
Mike Lee, a 2005 graduate of Skyline High School, was selected by the Boston Red Sox as the 262nd pick in the eighth round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.
Lee just wrapped up his junior season at Oklahoma City University, where he posted a 10-2 record and 2.79 earned run average. The 6-foot-7, 220-pound right-hander struck out 124 batters in 93.2 innings while walking 28. Opponents hit for a .222 average against Lee, who helped the Stars a 57-12 record and a third-place finish in the NAIA World Series.
“I’ve been taking pitching lessons since I was 9,” Lee said in a phone interview. “Basically, this is what I’ve been working for all my life.”
Lee was previously drafted by the New York Yankees twice, once in the 22nd round coming out of high school and once in the 27th round after his freshman year at Bellevue Community College. He opted to polish his skills and not sign in both cases, but said he will sign this time around — he’s just waiting on the paperwork.
“It’s pretty funny that I ended up getting drafted by the Red Sox,” Lee said, noting the rivalry between Boston and New York. “I’m excited. (Boston’s) one of the best programs in baseball to come up in.”
While at BCC Lee was an all-Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges Northern Region selection. He transferred to OCU because his adviser lived in the area and he knew another player on the team.
Lee said he will start work almost immediately. He’s flying to Boston on Sunday and will start playing with the Lowell Spinners — a Class A affiliate — on Tuesday.
OCU coach Denney Crabaugh wasn’t surprised at how high Lee was taken this time around.
“He was high on all the draft lists,” Crabaugh said. “He can throw it anywhere from 93 to 96, with an outstanding breaking ball. He is a pitcher who can light it up.”
Lee’s selection marks the second year in a row a Skyline player was taken in the draft. Pitcher Julian Sampson, a 2007 Skyline graduate, was selected in the 12th round of last season’s draft by Philadelphia Phillies. Eastlake High School’s Keaton Hayenga was also taken in the 2007 draft by the Kansas City Royals. Eastlake has four other players who are on minor league rosters, including Blake Hawksworth (St. Louis); Andy Sisco (Chicago White Sox), Chad Orvella (Tampa Bay) and Brant Ust (Seattle). Issaquah has two players in minor league camps, including Colin Curtis (New York Yankees) and Lindsay Gulin (Milwaukee).