Khalil Lee

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Khalil Rashad Lee

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Biographical Information[edit]

Outfielder Khalil Lee was selected in the 3rd round of the 2016 amateur draft by the Kansas City Royals out of a high school in Virginia. He played with the AZL Royals that year, hitting .269/.396/.484 in 49 games for an excellent first taste of professional baseball. In 2017, he moved up to the Lexington Legends of the South Atlantic League, going straight to full-season ball. As one of the youngest players in the league, he found the going rougher, hitting .237/.344/.430 in 121 games. He continued to display good power, with 24 doubles, 6 triples and 17 homers, but while he stole 20 bases, he was also caught stealing 18 times. He continued on the fast path in 2018 however, as he made it AA at age 20 after starting the year in the Carolina League with the Wilmington Blue Rocks. He was promoted to the Northwest Arkansas Naturals on June 29th, just three days after his birthday, but his season was ended by injury on August 1st. All told, he hit .263/.382/.390 in 100 games, with 18 doubles and 6 homers, improving his stolen base rate to 16 in 21 attempts.

In 2019, the Royals had him spend the whole season in the Texas League with Northwest Arkansas and he put up a line of .264/.363/.372, with his early display of power now being replaced with outstanding speed as he scored 74 runs and stole 53 bases while being caught just 12 times. Defensively, he split his time between right field and center field. He played for the Indios de Mayagüez in the Puerto Rican League after the season, but only got into 5 games. He would normally have started 2020 in AAA with a possible call-up to the majors in the cards if he did well, but the cancellation of the minor league season due to the COVID-19 pandemic changed these plans and he had to sit out what should have been a critical development year. The following winter, he returned to Mayagüez, and in his first action in a full year, hit .196 in 12 games.

On February 10, 2021, he was traded to the New York Mets in return for P Josh Winckowski and a player to be named later. That trade was a prelude to the Royals flipping Winckowski and the PTBNL to the Boston Red Sox along with OF Franchy Cordero and a PTBNL of their own to acquire OF Andrew Benintendi. He made his major league debut with the Mets on May 17th, when he entered the game against the Atlanta Braves in the 7th inning as a pinch-runner for Kevin Pillar, who had been hit in the face by a pitch, sending him to hospital for tests, which fortunately came back negative. He stayed in the game to play right field and struck out in his only plate appearance. He started off his career by striking out in his first 8 at-bats before finally making contact in a memorable way against the Miami Marlins on May 21st. His first hit drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning off Adam Cimber, breaking a 3-3 tie, as the Mets went on to win the game, 6-5, in 12 innings.

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