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Khalil Lee
Popularity: ↓ 21%
CF | B/T: L/L | 5' 10" 170LBS | Age: 22

Draft: 2016 | Rd: 3, #103, Kansas City Royals | Flint Hill (VA) HS
MLB Pipeline Rank
Poor Avg Great

Stats

PA AB R H HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG OPS
2019 546 470 74 124 8 51 53 .264 .363 .372 .735
Career Minors 1719 1449 245 371 37 192 97 .256 .366 .409 .775
AVG HR RBI SB OPS
2019 .264 8 51 53 .735
Career Minors .256 37 192 97 .775

Standard Minor League Batting Statistics

SeasonTmLGLGPAABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBCSHBPAVGOBPSLGOPS
2016 AZL Royals AZL ROK 49 222 182 43 49 9 6 6 29 33 57 8 4 6 .269 .396 .484 .880
2017 Lexington Legends SAL A(Full) 121 532 451 71 107 24 6 17 61 65 171 20 18 10 .237 .344 .430 .774
2018 2 Teams Minors 100 419 346 57 91 18 4 6 51 59 103 16 5 9 .263 .382 .390 .772
2018 Wilmington Blue Rocks CAR A(Adv) 71 301 244 42 66 13 4 4 41 48 75 14 3 7 .270 .402 .406 .808
2018 Northwest Arkansas Naturals TEX AA 29 118 102 15 25 5 0 2 10 11 28 2 2 2 .245 .330 .353 .683
2019 Northwest Arkansas Naturals TEX AA 129 546 470 74 124 21 3 8 51 65 154 53 12 9 .264 .363 .372 .735

Scouting Report

2020

A talented two-way player as a high schooler, Lee garnered Virginia’s Gatorade Player of the Year award as a senior after hitting .471 with six homers and going 7-0 with a 0.33 ERA on the mound. While there were some teams who preferred him as a left-handed pitcher, Lee's athleticism and offensive upside appealed to the Royals, who drafted him in the third round of the 2016 Draft and went over pick value to sign him. Lee has moved faster in the pro ranks than the typical prep pick and made his Double-A debut right after he turned 20 in '18. A Texas League Midseason All-Star in his return to the level in '19, Lee paced the circuit in stolen bases and walks, but he also finished second in strikeouts. 

Lee has the tools to be an impact player on both sides of the ball and could hit for both average and power if he can make the necessary improvements in his approach. His elevated strikeout rate (28.2 percent) in 2019 and overall swing-and-miss tendencies are exacerbated by a passive approach that results in too many deep counts and raises questions about the future utility of his bat. While that approach nets Lee plenty of walks and fuels his on-base skills, he needs to become more aggressive early in counts. His left-handed swing can get too long at times and results in too much groundball contact, though scouts like his bat speed and the hard contact it yields. 

Lee’s on-base skills and above-average speed make him a threat to run whenever he reaches, and he finished third in the Minors with 53 steals in 2019. He can handle playing center field, but he likely fits better as a right fielder, profiling as an above-average defender with a plus arm. Lee could develop into an everyday player if he can clean up his approach and tap into more of his raw power, but he does enough things well in all facets of the game to offer floor value as a fourth outfielder.


2019

Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 55 | Run: 55 | Arm: 65 | Field: 55 | Overall: 50

A talented two-way player as a high schooler in Virginia -- one many teams preferred as a left-handed pitcher -- Lee's athleticism and offensive upside appealed to the Royals, who drafted him in the third round of the 2016 Draft and went over pick value to sign him. He's moved rapidly thus far, making his Double-A debut right after he turned 20 in 2018.

Lee has the tools to be an impact player on both sides of the ball and with some adjustments to his offensive approach, he could be a better than average hitter with outstanding power. While he cut down his strikeout rate considerably in 2018 and has excellent plate discipline, Lee's willingness to see pitches can work against him. He'll often take too many hittable pitches early in counts and then hasn't altered his two-strike approach at all. If he can learn to be a bit more aggressive early in counts, then pitchers will start trying to expand the zone early, where his advanced eye will come in handy. All of that should put him in better counts to use his bat speed and loft to get to his power more frequently without his K rate skyrocketing. 

Defensively, Lee can handle playing center field and will continue to get plenty of time there in the Minors. But he likely profiles better as a right fielder, where his cannon for an arm plays well and he has the chance to be a plus defender overall. The Royals are hoping his time in Double-A and in the Arizona Fall League will help him continue up the ladder quickly after he lost time due to a back injury.


2018

Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 55 | Run: 55 | Arm: 60 | Field: 55 | Overall: 50

Though he had a low-90s fastball and a promising slider, intriguing several clubs as a left-handed pitching prospect, the Royals liked his multitool ability more. They made him a full-time outfielder after signing him for an over-slot $750,000 as a third-rounder in 2016, and they have no reason to regret that decision. He led the Rookie-level Arizona League in runs (43), triples (six) and total bases (88) during his pro debut, then ranked second in homers (17) and third in walks (65) in the low Class A South Atlantic League at age 19 last year.

If he can make some adjustments at the plate, Lee could have solid or better tools across the board. Though he's not physically imposing at 5-foot-10, the bat speed and loft in his left-handed swing give him surprising raw power. He has some feel to hit and a willingness to work counts, though he needs to tone down his aggressiveness after fanning a SAL-high 171 times last year.

With his solid speed, Lee could be a 20-20 player if he refines his basestealing technique after getting caught in 18 of his 38 attempts in 2017. He split last season between center and right field, showing the range to stick at the former position and Gold Glove upside at the latter. His strong arm allowed him to register 14 assists in 119 games.


2017

Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 50 | Run: 50 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50

Lee drew interest from clubs as both an outfielder and a left-handed pitcher in the 2016 Draft. Though he had a low-90s fastball and a promising slider, the Royals liked his bat and made him a full-time position player after signing him for an above-slot $750,000 as a third-round pick. Gatorade's 2016 Virginia high school player of the year, he topped the Rookie-level Arizona League in runs (43), triples (six) and total bases (88) while ranking second in on-base percentage (.396) and fifth in slugging (.484).

Kansas City considered Lee the best athlete available with the 103rd overall choice, and he has average or better tools across the board. Though he's not physically imposing, he has some juice in his quick left-handed stroke. He has good feel to hit and a mature approach, plus he already has shown the ability to make adjustments at the plate.

An average runner out of the batter's box, Lee shows more speed once he gets going. He played all three outfield spots in his pro debut, getting most of his time in center field, though he may be better suited for a corner in the long run. His obvious arm strength would play well in right field.


2016

Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 50 | Run: 50 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45

One of the best two-way prospects in the 2016 Draft, Lee intrigued several clubs as a left-handed pitcher with a fastball that tops out at 94 mph and a solid slider. Kansas City preferred Gatorade's Virginia player of the year as an outfielder and made him a full-time position player after signing him for $750,000 as a third-round pick.

The Royals believed Lee was the best athlete available when they drafted him with the 103rd overall choice, and he has the potential for average or better tools across the board. He has surprising pop for someone 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, the product of quality bat speed from the left side of the plate. He has a line-drive stroke and a patient approach that should help him hit for average.

Lee is an average runner out of the batter's box and a little quicker on the bases. He played primarily center field while also manning both corners in his pro debut, and he figures to end up in right field. He could be a solid defender there and definitely has the arm strength required for the position.


Transactions

Team Date Transaction
02/10/2021 Boston Red Sox Traded cash and LF Andrew Benintendi to Kansas City Royals; Kansas City Royals Traded Player To Be Named Later, Player To Be Named Later and CF Franchy Cordero to Boston Red Sox; Kansas City Royals Traded CF Khalil Lee to New York Mets and New York Mets Traded Player To Be Named Later and Josh Winckowski to Boston Red Sox.
11/20/2020 Kansas City Royals selected the contract of CF Khalil Lee from Northwest Arkansas Naturals. om
10/06/2020 CF Khalil Lee assigned to Northwest Arkansas Naturals from Royals Alternate Training Site.
07/18/2020 CF Khalil Lee assigned to Royals Alternate Training Site from Northwest Arkansas Naturals.
01/13/2020 Kansas City Royals invited non-roster OF Khalil Lee to spring training.
11/07/2019 OF Khalil Lee assigned to Indios de Mayaguez.
11/07/2019 OF Khalil Lee assigned to Indios de Mayaguez.
04/04/2019 CF Khalil Lee assigned to Northwest Arkansas Naturals from Omaha Storm Chasers.
03/25/2019 CF Khalil Lee assigned to Omaha Storm Chasers from Northwest Arkansas Naturals.
02/26/2019 OF Khalil Lee assigned to Kansas City Royals.
09/27/2018 Northwest Arkansas Naturals activated CF Khalil Lee from the 7-day injured list.
08/03/2018 Northwest Arkansas Naturals placed CF Khalil Lee on the 7-day disabled list.
06/27/2018 CF Khalil Lee assigned to Northwest Arkansas Naturals from Wilmington Blue Rocks.
04/02/2018 CF Khalil Lee assigned to Wilmington Blue Rocks from Lexington Legends.
03/17/2018 RF Khalil Lee assigned to Kansas City Royals.
04/03/2017 CF Khalil Lee assigned to Lexington Legends from AZL Royals.
06/20/2016 Kansas City Royals signed OF Khalil Lee.
06/20/2016 CF Khalil Lee assigned to AZL Royals.