An exciting young outfielder draws raves, but is he the lefthanded bat the KC Royals need?
It’s difficult not to get excited about Khalil Lee, the KC Royals’ fleet speed merchant who currently ranks eighth among MLB Pipeline’s top Kansas City prospects. He’s fast on base (53 minor league steals in 2019) and in the field, and his spot on last season’s 60-man Player Pool proves how much the club thinks of him.
Aside from anything new that might have developed beneath the shroud of near-secrecy the Royals dropped over last summer’s alternate training site, Lee’s primary strength is his ability to get on base despite a pedestrian batting average. His .366 OBP is over 100 points higher than his .256 average, and hasn’t dropped below .330 in any of his four minor league seasons.
What’s missing from Lee’s repertoire, though, even more than a consistently good average, is power. He hasn’t shown much since 2017, when he hit 17 homers in A ball—he managed six in 2018 and eight in 2019, hardly totals that commend him to a power-preferred spot in a major league lineup.
Lee’s lack of developed power doesn’t bode well for his chances to satisfy Moore’s probably requirements for a new lefthanded bat. But he may be too fast, and get on base too often, to be kept out of the big leagues for long.