The KC Royals have a couple of things they are looking for and while he may need a bit more time, one prospect could be the answer.
The KC Royals are now fully into the offseason and fans could start to see some action soon. Contract deals could be reached with current players, especially those eligible for arbitration, and some free agent deals could be made.
The Royals are looking to fill a few holes they have found around their roster and while some of those spots could be filled by internal sources, it’s likely a free agent or two will be added to the roster at some point.
Seeing that the Royals are looking for a pitcher, good bat, and outfield options likely isn’t going to surprising anyone. It’s been said for a while now that a good starting pitcher would go a long way to help the young prospects, and fans know that even with plenty of internal options, a strong presence is needed to replace the void Alex Gordon has left.
It’s likely the Royals are eyeing a couple of free agents to fill all of these spots but with some time, they have one internal option that might be able to check a couple of boxes for them, the speedy outfielder Khalil Lee.
Lee is one of the top outfield prospects in the Royals organization and he is one they have been high on for a few years. He was recently added to the 40 man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft and though he hasn’t played at Triple A yet, his chance in Kansas City may be sooner rather than later.
The Royals have a lot of young outfielders looking for their shot, and plenty of them have good defensive abilities and speed, but Lee hits one stat specifically, on-base percentage. The Royals are looking to improve their OBP and if Lee can translate his success from the minors to the major league level, he is the answer they need.
In 2017 at Single A, Lee got on base at a rate of .344, 2018 between Single A+ and Double A was .382 and at Double A in 2019, he sat at .363. What makes this even better, is that Lee is a terror on the basepaths. His speed helps him, and in 2019 he stole 53 bases in 129 games.
Of course, there is also some concern that comes with the good. The highest average in a full season Lee has hit for was .269 at Rookie League, and .264 at Triple A. He also strikes out consistently about 25% of the time or more.
This could be what holds him back a bit longer. The Royals will likely want to get Lee into Triple A for a while to see what he can do and if he made any true strides during their time with no minor league season.
Still, even when struggling with strikeouts and not always hitting for a high average, Lee has found a way to keep his OBP up and in the green.
There is still some work to do and the Royals will continue their search to meet their needs, but when it comes to a steady outfielder and improving OBP, they might not have to search long before Khalil Lee is ready to show them what he’s got.
Khalil Lee could check off a few of the boxes for the Royals this offseason. It should be interesting to see where he starts the season in 2021.