Originally written on The Golden Sombrero Baseball Blog  |  Last updated 11/21/11

#40 Hak-Ju Lee

Tampa Bay Rays

DOB: 11/4/1990

Previous Rank: N/R

ETA: 2013

Lee was signed as an 18-year-old out of South Korea and was sent to Tampa from the Cubs in the Matt Garza deal.  He likely will prove to be the most valuable chip that was traded in that deal except for maybe Garza himself.  Lee is an exceptional fielder, arguably the best shortstop in the Minors today in terms of what he is capable of in the field.  He has phenomenal range and a plus arm with outstanding instincts and feel for the position.  His bat is behind and he will never provide the thump to be the consistent all-star that some other shortstop prospects likely will.

Lee is going to approach a .300 average in at least a season or two.  In 2011 across two stops including 100 at-bats in the Southern League with Montgomery, Lee posted a .292/.365/.416 slash line with 33 swipes and 37 XBH’s.  He will probably never approach a 20-bomb Major League season, but he runs well and can stretch for a handful of extra bags each year beyond a replacement level guy.

Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BA 2009 18 Boise NORW A- CHC 68 304 264 56 87 14 2 2 33 25 8 .330 2010 19 Peoria MIDW A CHC 122 551 485 85 137 22 4 1 40 32 7 .282 2011 20 2 Teams 2 Lgs A+-AA TBR 121 568 500 98 146 17 15 5 30 33 16 .292 2011 20 Charlotte FLOR A+ TBR 97 454 400 82 127 16 11 4 23 28 14 .318 2011 20 Montgomery SOUL AA TBR 24 114 100 16 19 1 4 1 7 5 2 .190 3 Seasons 311 1423 1249 239 370 53 21 8 103 90 31 .296 Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/21/2011. Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB 2009 18 Boise NORW A- CHC 68 304 264 2 33 31 50 .330 .399 .420 .820 111 2010 19 Peoria MIDW A CHC 122 551 485 1 40 49 86 .282 .354 .351 .704 170 2011 20 2 Teams 2 Lgs A+-AA TBR 121 568 500 5 30 53 94 .292 .365 .416 .781 208 2011 20 Charlotte FLOR A+ TBR 97 454 400 4 23 42 72 .318 .389 .443 .832 177 2011 20 Montgomery SOUL AA TBR 24 114 100 1 7 11 22 .190 .272 .310 .582 31 3 Seasons 311 1423 1249 8 103 133 230 .296 .368 .392 .760 489 Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/21/2011. Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G Ch PO A E DP Fld% RF/G 2009 18 Boise NORW A- CHC SS 61 334 92 215 27 35 .919 5.03 2010 19 Peoria MIDW A CHC SS 118 561 178 349 34 73 .939 4.47 2011 20 2 Teams 2 Lgs A+-AA TBR SS 118 542 172 352 18 62 .967 4.44 2011 20 Charlotte FLOR A+ TBR SS 94 444 141 287 16 55 .964 4.55 2011 20 Charlotte FLOR A+ TBR DH 3 0.00 2011 20 Montgomery SOUL AA TBR SS 24 98 31 65 2 7 .980 4.00 3 Seasons 300 1437 442 916 79 170 .945 4.53 SS (3 seasons) SS 297 1437 442 916 79 170 .945 4.57 DH (1 season) DH 3 0.00 Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/21/2011.

We expect Lee to begin 2012 as a 21-year-old shortstop in Double-A with a chance to reach the Show later in the season or open the 2013 season as the starter at Tropicana.  If we’ve learned anything, though, it’s that Tampa is more than willing to be aggressive with promotions especially in years in which they are in contention.  We expect Tampa to be very competitive in 2012 too.








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