|Citi Field in the summer of 2019. Photo by Jason Schott.|
The Mets had a busy Wednesday night, as they signed free agent center fielder Albert Almora, Jr., and acquired top outfield prospect Kahlil Lee from Kansas City.
Albert Almora Jr., spent his entire career with the Chicago Cubs. He was a key part of their 2016 World Championship team, and he scored the go-ahead run in the 10th inning of Game 7 of the World Series.
The 26-year-old from Hialeah, Florida, was the sixth overall pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, and has played five years in the majors.
Known primarily for his defense, Almora Jr. had the fourth-highest fielding percentage (.986) among National League centerfielders. At the plate, he has a slashline of .271/.309/.398. In Almora's first full season in the majors, 2017, when he played in 132 games, he hit .298, with 8 home runs, 46 RBI, and 18 doubles, with a .338 on-base percentage, and .445 slugging percentage. His average declined to .286 in 2018, and then .236 the following season, though he hit a career-high 12 home runs. In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, he hit .167 (5-30) in 28 games.
Khalil Lee was acquired from the Kansas City Royals as part of a three-team trade, in which the Mets sent the Boston Red Sox right-handed pitcher Josh Winckowski and a player to be named later, and Boston sent Kansas City Andrew Benintendi. The 22-year-old Wincowski had been acquired by the Mets from the Blue Jays in the Steven Matz trade a couple weeks ago.
Lee, 22 years, old, was ranked the Royals' eighth-best prospect in 2020, according to MLB.com. In 2019, while with Double-A Northwest Arkansas, he had a slash line of .264/.363/.372 with 8 home runs, 51 RBI, 65 walks, 74 runs scored, and an astonishing 53 stolen bases in 129 games. That superb season led him to be honored as the Royals' Organizational Player of the Year and was a Texas League All-Star.
The 5-10, 170-pound Lee was the 103rd overall pick in the 2016 First Year Player Draft, after he was named Virginia's Gatorade High School Player of the Year in his senior year.
In 399 career minor league games, Lee has a slash line of .256/.366/.409 with 72 doubles, 19 triples, 37 home runs, 192 RBI, and 97 stolen bases.