Get to know Khalil Lee, the speedy outfield prospect acquired by the Mets in Wednesday’s trade

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Alex Smith
·2 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Kansas City Royals outfielder Khalil Lee poses photo spring training media day
Kansas City Royals outfielder Khalil Lee poses photo spring training media day

The name who will grab most of the headlines in Wednesday’s three-team trade between the Mets, Boston Red Sox, and Kansas City Royals is Andrew Benintendi, but the Mets certainly landed an intriguing prospect in Khalil Lee.

Only 22 years old, Lee was born in Newark, Del. but attended Flint Hill School in Oakton, Va. Lee was selected by the Royals in the third round of the 2016 MLB Draft, working his way up to become the No. 8 overall prospect in the Royals system, and their third-best outfield prospect.

The Gatorade Player of the Year in Virginia as a senior in high school, some teams saw the left-handed Lee as a potential pitching prospect, according to his MLB.com prospect bio, but his overall athleticism and potential as a hitter led the Royals to draft him and pay above slot value to sign him as an outfielder.

Lee has risen quickly through the Royals' farm system, and likely could have made his way to the major leagues with Kansas City at some point in 2020. During his last full minor league season in 2019, Lee slashed .264/.363/.372 with eight home runs and 51 RBI in Double-A. He walked 65 times in 546 plate appearances, though his 154 strikeouts are something he needs to clean up.

But speed is the name of the game for the lefty, as he led the Texas League with 53 steals in 65 attempts.

After acquiring superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor and adding other key names like James McCann this offseason, Steve Cohen and Sandy Alderson said that the Mets need to replenish their farm system, and the outfield in particular is a spot of need.

Prior to the Lee trade, the Mets’ top outfield prospect was first-round pick Pete Crow-Armstrong, who ranks fifth overall but is still a ways away from the big leagues. The Mets have no other outfielders among their top 12 prospects.

But Lee could change that, as he gives the Mets a young, speedy outfield prospect who could potentially be big league ready either this season or the next. He has the tools to play center field, but as MLB.com notes, he may project better as a right fielder because of his strong arm. The Mets could look at Lee as a potential fourth or fifth outfielder who could also be used in late-game scenarios as a pinch runner.

Clearly, the Mets felt strongly about Lee, as they jumped into the Benintendi trade and sent right-hander Josh Winckowski (whom they had just acquired in the Steven Matz trade) along with a player to be named later to the Red Sox.

Whether he makes the big leagues or not in 2021, Lee gives the Mets a new, exciting prospect they very much needed to bolster their outfield talent pool.