According to my research, prior to this offseason, the last time the Mets participated in a 3-team trade was when they acquired reliever JJ Putz from Seattle in 2008. They have now been in two of them this offseason, acquiring left-handed pitcher Joey Lucchesi in a deal with San Diego and Pittsburgh, and now acquiring 22-year-old outfield prospect Khalil Lee from Kansas City through Boston.
Oppo Boomstick😂😂👀 pic.twitter.com/wJ6pZwGofV— Khalil Lee (@lilswingman24) July 10, 2019
The big name in the deal is Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi heading to the Royals, but the Mets might have swooped in and got one of the most interesting pieces in the deal with Lee. To acquire Lee, the Mets had to part with right-handed pitcher Josh Winckowski, whom they acquired from Toronto in the Steven Matz trade along with a player to be named later going to Boston. I didn’t exactly update my prospect rankings recently, but I figure Winckowski would’ve been in the mid-20s in the Mets system and I expect to rank Lee inside my top 10. This tells me the player to be named later might actually end up being a pretty solid prospect. The math simply doesn’t add up that you can flip your, let’s call it 25th prospect for your now 7th or 8th. We likely won’t find out the player to be named for a few months per Red Sox GM Chaim Bloom.
I am sure your question is, what is Khalil Lee all about?
- He was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2016 MLB Draft and was given a $750,000 signing bonus to sign him away from college.
- He is a prospect with tools across the board.
- He has above average raw power that he hasn’t been able to tap into in-game yet,
- He has above average speed and strong baserunning IQ (he stole 53 bases in Double-A in 2019).
- He can defensively play all 3 spots in the outfield and has a plus throwing arm. In high school he was also a pitcher with a low-90s fastball.
- He has worked hard on his center field defense, but it’s possible he ends up a corner guy and has plenty of arm to do it.
- The concerns are with his ability to make consistent contact. He strikes out at a high rate and hasn’t hit higher than .264 at any full-season assignment thus far.
Lee will likely start the year in Triple-A, and given his spot on the 40-man roster, I think there’s a real possibility you see him in Queens in 2021. If he is able to make more consistent contact and tap into some of that power, he could be a starting outfielder. If he doesn’t, he has enough on-base skills, speed and defense to profile as a 4th outfielder.
The Mets have a dire need for upper level outfield prospects, and Lee fits the mold. We will find out at some point the full deal, but all in all I think this was a smart move to improve the upper minors outfield depth, and also tap into some upside by landing Khalil Lee.
Khalil Lee... *nods* pic.twitter.com/qHKs4Nnydy— Jacob Resnick (@Jacob_Resnick) February 11, 2021