Royals: 5 prospects who could join big league club in 2020

KC Royals (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
KC Royals (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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Kansas City Royals, Khalil Lee
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The outfield has a ton of question marks outside of Whit Merrifield currently, leaving it wide open for a player who can cover a lot of ground and reek havoc on the base paths.

Outside of starting pitching, the outfield for the Kansas City Royals is in need of players to step up.  There could be some action in the free-agent market or with trades but if Alex Gordon does not come back at least two positions are up for grabs as Bubba Starling and Brett Phillips have not secured their place in the lineup yet.

Khalil Lee was taken in the third round of the 2016 draft out of Flint Oak High School in Oakton, Virginia.  After spending the last part of 2018 with Northwest Arkansas, he was stationed there the entire 2019 season and vastly improved.  His slash went from .245/.330/.353 to .264/.363/.372.

He also exploded on the base paths swiping 53 bases.  That bested his previous season record by over 30.  He chose his spots wisely, too, only being caught a total of 12 times.  It was also the third most steals in all of minor league baseball for 2019.

Out of all the prospects profiled in the piece, Lee has the best shot at playing in the big leagues in 2020.  Possibly even a slim shot he could make the team out of Spring Training, although very unlikely. The Royals want him to get as many at-bats as possible so they will not place him in a position where he rides the bench.

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A late-season call up is definitely on the table as his speed could put him as a pinch-running specialist to acclimate himself to major league pitchers and catchers.