Khalil Lee’s Tools Excite Mets In First Look

Khalil Lee went hitless in 18 plate appearances with nine strikeouts in his initial spring training with the Mets, but organization officials liked what they saw in their first real look at the 22-year-old outfielder. 

Acquired from the Royals in a three-team deal that included the Red Sox over the winter, the 5-foot-10, 170-pound Lee’s speed was hard to miss.

“Now, I just think he needs time to see upper-level pitching and make his adjustments in the game,” Mets scout Tony DeFrancesco said. “But he’s definitely a guy who fills a need.”

In a farm system thin on upper-level prospects, Lee figures to receive action at Triple-A Syracuse and ideally become a depth option at the major league level by the end of the season.

In 129 games for Double-A Northwest Arkansas in 2019, Lee hit .264/.363/.372 with eight home runs, 51 RBIs and 53 stolen bases. He also struck out 154 times.

“I think the power is going to come,” DeFrancesco said. “When I watch him in batting practice, he definitely has some life in his bat. He shows the bat speed and the exit velocity. Now you just have to really concentrate on zoning in on pitches he can drive.”

Lee, a 2016 third-rounder from Flint High in Oakton, Va., was a Gatorade player of the year in high school.

He caught the attention of Mets acting general manager Zack Scott, who at the time was working in the Red Sox front office. In the trade for Lee, the Mets sent righthander Josh Winckowski and a player to be named to the Red Sox, who shipped Andrew Benintendi to the Royals.

“He was someone we had talked about (in Boston),” Scott said. “And I know they liked Khalil Lee as well. They reached out and asked if there would be interest here. We were excited.

“I know our pro scouts here really like Lee as a player. He’s got a lot to like, a lot of tools and athleticism. We like a lot of things about his performance as well.”


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