Khalil Lee gets well-deserved second opportunity in the majors

Khalil Lee rounds the bases against the Colorado Rockies.
Khalil Lee rounds the bases against the Colorado Rockies. / Elsa/GettyImages

The New York Mets first received Khalil Lee from the Kansas City Royals in a trade back in 2021. He came to the Mets organization as a highly-touted prospect: he was regarded as an above-average outfielder with an above-average bat. The expectation was that Lee would one day be the Mets starting right fielder.

Although that day has not arrived yet, Lee did get an opportunity to showcase his talent at the big league level last season when the Mets were extremely depleted. Called into action earlier than anticipated, it came as no surprise to many that Lee struggled during his time on the Mets big league roster. He appeared in 11 big league games batted 1-for-18 (.056) with 13 strikeouts, which is paltry compared to his Triple-A numbers, but that wasn’t the biggest concern with Lee.

The huge issue for Lee was that he struck out a lot, even by the current standards. Lee posted a 72.2% strikeout rate with the Mets during his brief spell with the team in 2021, and that was problematic for a team that called him up in the hope that he would provide much-needed offense.

Khalil Lee's second stint with the Mets should have better results

Lee had a strikeout problem in his first stint with the Mets, but his time in the minors since then has allowed him to refine his swing that has led to positive results.

Lee has had an up-and-down journey this season. Last month, he was sent down to St. Lucie after struggling for the Syracuse Mets. The demotion may have been the best thing for his confidence and for his bat.

At St. Lucie, Lee was able to refine his leg kick, which has allowed him to create a smoother yet more powerful swing. Working on his mechanics in Single-A immediately paid dividends once he was brought back to Triple-A Syracuse. Before being called up by the Mets a few days ago, Lee compiled a .311/.414/.623 batting line with four homers and 19 RBIs over his last 19 games with Triple-A Syracuse. The Mets are hoping that his hot streak will carry over during his second stint with the team.

Lee’s second stint with the Mets probably won’t last long, considering that Alonso, Nimmo, and Marte are not expected to miss significant time, but Lee’s return to the big leagues offers hope that the highly touted prospect is continuing to improve his game at the plate. Any positive contributions to the Mets during this period should be looked at as an added bonus.

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