New York Mets farmhand Braxton Lee is off to a good start and in line to advance to Triple-A. Could he become a future contender for a big league job, too?
During this past winter’s Rule 5 Draft, the New York Mets managed to pick up several players. In the minor league portion of the draft, outfielder Braxton Lee landed with the team. The 25-year-old center fielder came over from the Miami Marlins organization in a decision the Mets may be glad they made.
Lee made it to the big leagues last year for an 8-game cup of coffee with the Marlins. It was hardly enough to judge him, and I’m certain the .176 batting average is not something he plans to repeat when he gets another shot in the big leagues in the future.
The Mets can provide Lee with a great opportunity to shoot through the minor leagues up from Double-A—where he currently plays—up to Triple-A by midseason. He’s hitting well with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies and if it continues, the organization will have no choice but to promote him.
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Unlike last year, there is outfield depth within this organization. The Triple-A Syracuse Mets have veterans Carlos Gomez and Rajai Davis already competing for a future big league spot. Their time with the franchise is likely limited. Any time they spend in the MLB this year is nothing more than a tryout for a future job. Long-term, Lee has a greater edge.
Lee isn’t considered a top prospect in the system, but this shouldn’t stop us from believing he can climb the ladder to the show. He’s one of the hottest hitters in the Mets’ upper minor leagues right now, which of course can always change by the time the New York Brodie Van Wagenens are seeking outfield help.
Lee has only an outside chance of reaching the major leagues this year. Next season, when they have likely moved on from Juan Lagares and the other veterans signed to minor league deals, there’s a more realistic chance of seeing Lee at Citi Field. Because of this, he has to replicate his 2017 numbers where he hit .309 in Double-A and swiped 20 bases. The light-hitting, quick-footed outfielder’s greatest asset is hitting for average and stealing bases. Excelling in these areas can get him in future plans.
The Mets aren’t particularly deep in outfield prospects. Desmond Lindsay is considered their best and he’s still in Single-A, hitting weakly, too.
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Lee can take advantage of this opportunity. The Mets have no clear plan for center field as soon as next year. Though a longshot at the moment, Lee may turn into one of those late bloomers with a memorable big league career.