Continuing our top 30 Tigers prospects for 2024, we have a somewhat recent addition in infielder Hao-Yu Lee. Lee was acquired in the Michael Lorenzen trade at the deadline last season.
He was signed out of Taiwan by the Phillies in 2021 for $570,000 as an 18-year-old. His numbers at the plate have been failrly consistent througout his professional career so far.
Last year he slashed /283/.372/.401 with a 117 wRC+ in 285 plate appearances with the Phillies' High-A affiliate before the trade. In High-A West Michigan, he slashed .214/.313/.429 with a 107 wRC+ in 32 plate appearances before his regular season was cut short by a calf injury.
The strikeouts were up in that short sample size, but so was the power (.214 ISO). He has shown a good eye and a good contact ability during his time in pro ball.
Here's what MLB Pipeline has to say about him:
"The 5-foot-10 infielder has the chance to be a very good hitter, with a clean swing and an advanced approach at the plate. Lee is a baseball rat who loves to work on his hitting and makes a ton of contact, striking out in just over 19 percent of his 2022 plate appearances while walking 12.3 percent of the time. There’s power in that compact frame and he’s added 10 pounds of muscle to it, which should help him impact the ball even more moving forward."- MLB Pipeline
In a way, Lee kind of personifies what a Scott Harris type of hitter will do: he goes up there with a plan. He tries to dominate the strike zone.
Defensively, Lee has a really solid glove in the infield. He split time between second and third base last year. He's also spent some time at shortstop. He also has a good amount of speed, stealing 16 bases last season.
Now, at age 21, he'll probably start the year in High-A, but will likely get some time in Erie as well. They say the jump from High-A to Double-A is the toughest jump to make in the minors, so that'll be interesting to watch.
Lee is one of the more intriguing prospects in the Tigers organization. The reason he's so low on our list is because we just haven't seen a whole lot of him. He got some time in the Arizona Fall League and was okay, but we need closer to a full season's worth of playing time for him in the Tigers organization before we rank him a bit higher.