TDG 2023 PLAYER TO TARGET: SECOND BASE
*This is a companion piece to our 2023 Top 50 Dynasty League Second Base series. The opinions below are my own and do not reflect the TDG consensus.
Fantasy baseball is a lot like a first date. Step 1: Be early showing up, but not early enough that you seem desperate. You don’t wanna seem overeager but you also want to show interest. Step 2: Enjoy getting to know one another. This is the fun part, telling stories and listening to the other person. Genuinely find out what makes the other tick. Step 3: Of course the biggest of all, know when to leave when the time is right! Everything is going great, don’t ruin it with a bad joke, get outta there while still on top. Be like George Costanza and just say “Alright, that’s it for me!” Go out on a high note.
Applying these few simple rules to your fantasy team is a great way to start your march to that inevitable title. The player I wanna highlight is firmly entrenched in step one and this upcoming season will be step two.
Hao-Yu Lee, Philadelphia Phillies (Age: 19, Rank: 45)
Hao-Yu Lee was born in New Taipei, Taiwan on February 3, 2003. He was signed from the international crop in 2020-21, but because of the pandemic, it didn’t start until January and Hao-Yu didn’t actually sign until June. He’s got a great build for a kid that is coming up on his 20th birthday, standing 5′ 10″ and weighing around 190 pounds. With a short compact swing, he is being touted to become a really good hitter and is already showing glimpses of that. He is not expected to be much of a runner but is showing his baseball acumen on the base paths and his speed is playing up because of it.
Step 1: Gotta get in there early before the price becomes too high. I don’t want to completely throw out rookie ball stats but if we wanna make them part of an argument they better be darn good. With the late signing, Hao-Yu was only able to accrue 22 at-bats in 2021 but he made the most of them knocking eight hits and compiling a slash line of .364/.440/.773 for the Phillies’ rookie affiliate. 2022 had him repeating rookie ball to the tune of 6 at-bats but that was enough for the Phillies to give the kid a crack at Single-A ball.
Step 2: Enjoy getting to know one another. Once called up to Single-A, Hao-Yu, was able to fit 258 at-bats while dealing with a few injuries. The results were 73 hits, 11 of them doubles, one turned into a triple and he sent seven over the outfield fence. The slash line shook out to .283/.384/.415 and he added ten stolen bases. He only struck out at a 22 percent clip as a 19-year-old in Single-A and kept his on-base percentage at .384 with a 14 percent walk rate. He was caught stealing seven times but first dates are never truly perfect. He did get a call-up towards the end of the season to High-A where he got 35 at-bats while connecting nine times and a total of 17 bases. Overall a great way to break into his most at-bats in a season as a professional.
Set 3: Know when to leave when the time is right! Don’t get me wrong I want you to go get Hao-Yu Lee on every one of your fantasy baseball teams. We have a soon to be 20 year old that will most likely crack camp in High-A and later on debut in Double-A. I believe he is going to have the kind of year that will see him on a rocket ship climbing every major publication’s top 100 list. He already has shown the hit tool with a .290 career minor league average, starting to show some pop with ten home runs, and added a glimpse of athletic speed with 17 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases. Add all that up and stick it at the keystone position that is brutally flawed across all of baseball right now and I am all over it. Yet, as my dear friend Ross Jensen, likes to say and to quote the movie “Heat” when talking about fantasy baseball prospects.
The price to obtain Hao-Yu Lee right now is going to be the lowest it will be, my recommendation is to get him now, and then if you wanna walk away and reap the benefits by all means do that too. I just don’t think you are gonna have to walk away until 2040 when he will still only be 37 years old.