After playing part-time during his first two years at Cal-Berkeley, Lee made the unexpected jump into a late-Day 1 draft prospect with a strong junior season. However, the Astros surprised some evaluators by selecting the 21-year-old with the 32nd overall pick this past draft, signing him for a below-slot $1.75 million. With Short-Season Tri-City, Lee is slashing .255/.340/.340 with a K:BB ratio of 41:20 over 53 games. I have seen him play a few times throughout the summer.
Listed at 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, Lee possesses an athletic and muscular build without much room for physical projection. His strong hands and wrists generate above-average raw power. Also, Lee utilizes a high leg kick, allowing him to engage his back-side and produce triple-digit exit velos. That said, a grounder-heavy contact profile in his pro debut limited the degree Lee was able to access that raw power in game action. Lee is comfortable letting the ball get deep and using the middle and right side of the field. As he matures, I expect him to pick his spots to look for pitches to punish to the pull-side, which should allow his raw power to translate into game settings. Lee struggled recognizing spin, with most of his strikeouts coming when chasing breaking balls. The 21-year-old catcher possesses average speed, though he may lose a step as the wear-and-tear of the position takes its toll. His athleticism is also on display behind the plate, showing the quickness to block pitches and arm strength to control the running game. Lee’s targets were low and quiet and did a nice job of letting the pitch get to him, rather than stabbing at it.
Lee has the tools to be an everyday backstop at the big league level. Balls jump off his barrel and the offensive concerns are largely correctable through tweaks to his mechanics and approach. Defensively, Lee is surprisingly advanced considering he did not catch much pro-quality stuff in college, possessing the athleticism and arm required to be a solid catcher – FV 50.