According to a report from the East Windup Chronicle, the Cubs signed Hak-ju Leea few weeks back and this shortstop from Korea has gotten rave reviews from the scouts. Background
Hak-ju Lee is 18 years old and is currently a senior at Chungahm High School. Reports indicated Steve Wilson signed Hak-ju for $1.15 million dollars and it is believed that he would have been a first round pick in the states. The report in the East Windup Chronicle, however stated the financial terms “seem to be from somewhere in the ether.”
A report listed Lee at 6′ tall and 170 pounds but another report mentioned he is a little heavier and closer to 6’2″….a good build for a shortstop. Hak-ju will start in an Australian camp once school is over in June and will be assigned to either a rookie team or to the Peoria Chiefs next spring.
Lee has plus speed and runs the 100 in 11 seconds. His speed from home to first has been clocked at 4.10 seconds from the left side of the plate. One scouting report stated Hak-ju is plus defensively and his throws from short have been clocked at 89 MPH.
Lee has been compared to Derek Jeter, but with better tools than Jeter had at the same age.
Lee’s quick catch and release at short was described as ‘textbook‘ and his plus arm makes him solid defensively. Hak-ju was described as having a ‘big league’ arm at only 18 years old.
Offensively Hak-ju Leehas shown the ability to make good contact with average power. One report compared him to Ichiro because of his tools. Steve Wilson said he never made the comparison, as reported.
If the Cubs have found a shortstop with ‘tools comparable to Ichiro’ they could very well have signed a valuable piece to their future. Comparing young players to proven major leaguers is always dangerous because it puts unrealistic expectations on prospects.
The signing of Hak-ju Lee appears to be a good one, but only time will tell….as it always does with highly touted prospects. With all of the news surrounding Jim Edmonds, the CCO dropped the proverbial ball last week by not reporting this addition to the Cubs’ organization. This appears to be another good signing by Steve Wilson.
The Cubs farm system is producing big league talent capable of contributing at the Major League level. Last season proved the value of a good farm system and this year the Cubs’ homegrown talent is still providing positive results. Micah Hoffpauir became the 14th different player developed by the Cubs’ organization to suit up for the big league team this season.