Chicago Cubs Prospect Profile: Hak-Ju Lee

The Cubs signed Hak-Ju Lee as a non-drafted free agent out of Korea in June of 2008. Lee is an extremely speedy shortstop with plus range, a plus arm and good contact skills at the plate. Lee injured his elbow before coming to the United States and had Tommy John Surgery, which delayed his professional debut. At the age of 18, Lee put together a solid first season at Boise (Short-Season A-Ball) and hit .330/.399/.420 in 264 at bats. Lee showed off his phenomenal speed with 25 steals in 33 attempts as well as a very solid approach at the plate. Lee posted a 10.5% walk rate and acceptable strikeout rate of 18.9%.

Hak-Ju Lee shows superb range at shortstop despite 27 errors in only 61 games last year. For a player his age, even one who projects to be a defensive stud, this is not uncommon. He has shown the ability to consistently make tough throws off his back foot look easy … and with his plus range he makes spectacular stops to either side look almost routine. Many feel Lee is the Cubs’ future shortstop with Starlin Castro at second base.

Lee got off to a slow start this year at Peoria (Low-A) but is rebounding nicely. Lee is currently hitting .252/.315/.348 with seven doubles, three triples and no home runs … and he is continuing to run. Lee has swiped 10 bags in 12 attempts.

Lee has gap power and might hit the occasional home run, but he is more of a slap hitter that can get on base and create scoring opportunities. Utilizing his speed he will get more than his fair share of doubles and triples. At this point he has little power and is more of a singles hitter and lead-off batter … with the potential to steal 50 bases a season. Many feel as he continues to develop he could end up hitting seven to ten home runs a season.

Hak-Ju Lee has a huge upside … but is still pretty raw and is at least a couple of years away.

Full Name: Hak-Ju Lee
Age: 19 (November 4, 1990)
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 170
Bats/Throws: L/R
2010 Baseball-America Ranking: 6
Position: Shortstop

Interesting Tidbits
Organization Rankings: Hak-Ju Lee
Baseball America – Best Hitter for Average
VineLine – Best Contact Hitter
VineLine – Best Footwork of Shortstops in System
VineLine – Best Throwing Accuracy of Shortstops in System
VineLine – Best Raw Speed in System
VineLine – Best Home-to-First Time in System

Random Thoughts
If Hak-Ju Lee, Brett Jackson, Starlin Castro and Tyler Colvin are all able to establish themselves as starters for the big league club, the Cubs could have one of the most athletic and defensively sound teams ever seen on the North Side of Chicago.

If you haven’t checked it out already check out the article I wrote last Saturday in the community blog … Here’s a link: The Cubs and a Glimmer of Hope

CCO Prospect Profiles:

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