Setting the Scene
Hao Yu Lee hails from Taiwan, where the Phillies signed him in June 2021 for $500,000. Thanks to Phillies scout Sal Agostinelli watching him at the WBSC U-18 World Cup in 2019, the Phillies have a second baseman for the future.
He plays with players older than him and is a formidable athlete.
In his first few games in 2021, Lee slashed .364 BA/ .440 OBP/ .773 SLG.
He impressed the executives, especially Farm Director Preston Mattingly, who believes Lee is advanced for his age and great instincts.
In 2022, from Rookie Ball to High-A, Lee slashed .284 BA/ .386 OBP/ .438 SLG with a .824 OPS. Lee did miss some time due to injury, but a healthy and full 2022 in his upcoming year 20 season would be ideal for the #6 prospect in the Phillies organization.
Lee is expected to start in High-A, if not Double-A. If Lee does not make the Reading Phightin Phils start the year, the expectation is that he should join them by the end of the season.
Lee has a grade of 50 for hitting, power, and fielding and would make a great addition to Reading.
The Phightin Phils went 61-77 in 2022, and they could use the help at Second base. Currently, the only rostered second baseman is Wendell Rijo. Lee would be a significant upgrade offensively and defensively.
Scenarios of the Phuture
Lee may provide a utility role for the Phillies comes 2025 or 2026. He is entering his age 20 season, which should give him 2-3 years more development and rise to the top.
By 2025 or 2026, Lee should enter the big league club as a utility man but could work himself into the starting role. Depending on how Bryson Stott develops, it could mean a lot to how the Phillies see Lee playing into their future strategy internally.
Stott is eligible for arbitration in 2025 and a Free Agent in 2029. At any point between ‘25-’29, Stott could be traded, injured, or released. If a window opens for Lee, he might be the cheaper option to move to, especially with all of these multi-million dollar contracts on the books.
Another factor is Trea Turner’s regression. Depending on how long he will last with his speed threat and well-developed hit tool will determine Lee’s spot in the field. Will Turner move to first base when he slows up? These are things the Phillies will have to consider over his 11-year contract.
If Turner moves to first, later on, Stott could move back to Shortstop, and Lee could take the helm of Second Base.
Lee will be 22 in 2025. If Turner or Stott get moved around the diamond, Lee could debut. However, judging from recent debuts of players, Lee could make his big appearance anywhere from age 22-25 (2025-2028). This would put him close to Stott’s Free Agent year, and they could start Lee and let Stott walk.
Overall, Hao Yu Lee could potentially become the starting second baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies in the mid-2020s.
Seeing the Phillies tapping into another international market and expanding the sport is exciting.
Next on Phillies of the Phuture: 潘文輝 Pan Wen-Hui (RHP)