Khalil Lee
21-Year-Old OutfielderOF
Kansas City Royals AA
2020 Fantasy Outlook
Lee ranked second in the minors with 53 steals (81.5% success rate). The Royals had an organization-wide mandate to run as much as possible -- three Royals prospects ranked in the top 12 -- so that factored in. Lee is only a 55-grade runner, but it is clear that stealing bases is a strength. He is a good athlete, capable of handling all three outfield spots. Despite a .109 ISO, Lee actually has above-average raw power, he just hasn't been able to get to it in games. His 28.2 K% was his worst mark above Low-A, but he was the third-youngest hitter in the Texas League and his 11.9 BB% was the fourth-best mark in the league. Lee's biggest weakness is his inability to consistently lift the ball (59.3 GB%). He needs a swing change to maximize his offensive potential. As is, he could be the Royals' leadoff hitter in a year or two, but would be limited to major contributions in just two categories (steals, runs). Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a contract with the Royals in June of 2016 that includes a $750,000 signing bonus.
Untapped power
OFKansas City Royals  AA
March 25, 2020
The Royals believe Lee has more raw power than he has shown in games thus far, Alec Lewis of The Athletic reports. "He stayed with the plan (in spring training). He took some really good swings," assistant general manager J.J. Picollo said. "And I think that, as we've talked about before, there's more power in there that will show up in games."
Picollo didn't spell it out, but the team would obviously like to see Lee cut down on the 59.3 percent groundball rate he registered last year at Double-A. Despite a .182 average with one home run and a 12:2 K:BB in 35 plate appearances, Lee apparently had some great batting practice sessions, hitting line drives to all fields while impressing the field staff with his maturity. He will likely open the year at Triple-A, but the shortened season could delay his big-league debut until 2021.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Lee's physical tools and on-field performance have not always lined up, but he reached Double-A a day after turning 20 en route to emerging as the Royals' best prospect. He only hit six home runs in 100 games, as he is still learning to access his huge raw power in games, but he made huge strides with his approach, significantly cutting his strikeout rate while utilizing the whole field. Lee's above-average speed resulted in 16 steals on 21 attempts -- he could steal 20-plus over a full season. His 58.1 GB% at Double-A sunk his batting average, but he had never logged even a 48.0 GB% at previous stops, so hopefully he can recapture his batted ball profile from High-A. Lee specifically struggled against same-handed pitching (.248/.331/.330 vs. LHP), but his plus arm and above-average athleticism give him a chance to be an impact defender in center field or right field, which should keep his bat in the lineup. He appears on track for an early 2020 MLB debut.
Ronald Acuna and Fernando Tatis Jr., two of the 10 best prospects in baseball, were the only other teenagers to hit 15-plus home runs and steal 15-plus bases in full-season ball. Lee’s 32.1 percent strikeout rate and .237 average were mediocre, but everything else about his age 18/19 campaign at Low-A was impressive. Despite hitting for a low average, Lee walked at a 12.2 percent clip (fifth best in the Sally League), en route to finishing with a 125 wRC+. He is athletic, but while he stole 20 bases last year, he was caught 18 times and does not project to be much of a threat on the bases by the time he reaches the majors. His power and on-base skills are significant, however, and he has a howitzer of an arm, so he should have no problem manning right field. Lee should be a much better bet in OBP leagues than rotisserie formats, but he won’t turn 20 until late June, so it’s too soon to say he won’t be able to develop into a .250 or .260 hitter.
Many teams actually viewed Lee as a better fit on the mound heading into the 2016 draft, but based on the early returns, his days of toeing the rubber are over. A quick-twitch athlete with a good shot at sticking in center field, Lee showed power, speed, and a quality approach despite being almost two years younger than the average player in the Arizona League. He finished first in walks (33) and third in OPS (.880) among teenagers in the AZL and was one of just two players in the entire league -- Indians first-rounder Will Benson being the other -- with five-plus homers, five-plus steals, and 20-plus walks. Unlike several other tooled-up, high-pedigree hitters in the AZL like Benson, Seuly Matias and Oscar Gonzalez, Lee produced while keeping his strikeout rate below 30 percent (25.7). The Royals were able to grab Lee in the third round, but he should be treated like a first-round talent in dynasty league drafts this spring.
More Fantasy News
Healthy to start camp
OFKansas City Royals  AA
February 12, 2020
Lee is healthy to start spring training after breaking his hand in winter ball, Alec Lewis of The Athletic reports.
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Will appear in major-league camp
OFKansas City Royals  AA
January 13, 2020
Lee (hand) was invited to the Royals' major-league spring training Monday, Jeffrey Flanagan of reports.
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Suffers broken hand
OFKansas City Royals  AA
November 23, 2019
Lee suffered a broken right hand while playing winter ball in Puerto Rico.
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Plates two vs. Cincinnati
OFKansas City Royals  AA
March 8, 2019
Lee went 3-for-3 with two RBI, a double, a stolen base and a run scored Friday against the Reds.
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Out with back soreness
OFKansas City Royals  AA
August 4, 2018
Lee was placed on the seven-day disabled list at Double-A Northwest Arkansas with back soreness, Jeffrey Flanagan of reports.
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