Khalil Lee is one of the most intriguing young players the New York Mets acquired this offseason. No doubt a threat on the base paths shown by his 53 stolen bases back in 2019 down in Double-A, it’s the other tools Lee needs to grow into to become a dangerous MLB player.
Lee has an outside chance to join the Mets at some point this season. The outfield-hungry franchise built up their depth beyond the infield dirt this year with Lee headlining what the club was able to add in the minor leagues.
Still flawed, there is plenty of hope we have yet to see the best of what he can offer on his path toward major league at-bats.
Khalil Lee’s path to the Mets requires some big improvements
There are a few notable statistics from Lee’s minor league seasons at all levels. In 1719 plate appearances, he has 485 strikeouts. In his last full season in 2019, he fanned 154 times. This wasn’t even a personal record. Back in 2017, Lee struck out 171 times down in Single-A.
Strikeout numbers like these are astoundingly bad. Add in his lack of true power, it’s a recipe for some bitter growing pains when he does reach the major leagues.
Lee can certainly cut down on the Ks but I think they’re always going to be plentiful. It’s the type of hitter he is. He’s going to strike out too much. Hopefully, he makes up for it by stealing bases, playing good defense, and maybe finding his power stroke.
Why Khalil Lee could hit for a little more pop
Back in 2017, Lee smacked 17 of his 37 professional home runs. It’s not a lot. But in 532 plate appearances at the minor league level, it’s eye-catching enough. He’s built more like a leadoff hitter. To have the capability to hit with that much power at a young age (19 at the time), we have to wonder if he can revisit his long-ball talents from that season.
Home run totals at the minor league level don’t always tell a story of how a player might perform when they reach the majors. It’s one of those things I have noticed don’t always reflect accurately.
If a guy hits for power at a young age, he probably will once he reaches the majors as well. The complete opposite is not true. Lighter-hitting players sometimes find their power bloom a little later. Pick any random player in the league and chances are you will see he wasn’t knocking dingers on the farm—just don’t choose Pete Alonso.
Lee has plenty of growth ahead of him. If he was MLB-ready, the Kansas City Royals wouldn’t have parted with him.
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He’s not. Fortunately, we have some outfielders to cover the ancient grounds at Citi Field for a little while longer as we see whether or not Lee develops into the player many hope he can become.