WBSC U-18 World Cup winner Hao-Yu Lee impresses at Philadelphia Phillies camp

WBSC U-18 World Cup winner Hao-Yu Lee impresses at Philadelphia Phillies camp
09/03/2022
The 19-year old played in seven games at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup 2019. He also represented world No. 2 Chinese Taipei at the U-12 and U-15 World Cups.

Hao-Yu Lee is emerging as one of the top prospects in the Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball (MLB) farm system.

Lee, 19, helped Chinese Taipei win the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup 2019. He was just 16 at the tournament but appeared in seven games, six at second base.

He was in the lineup as the cleanup hitter and was the designated hitter in the final against the United States. He went 1-for-2 and drew two walks.

Scout Youngster Wang convinced Sal Agostinelli, the Phillies international scouting director, to travel to Korea to take a look at Lee.

"He was a year or two younger than most of the guys," Agostinelli said to MLB's website. "He raked against all the best players in the world. He was hitting bullets all over the place."

The Phillies have never seen a player signed out of Asia make the big league team, but they decided to invest US$ 500,000 to get 18-year old Lee in the summer of 2021.

Lee played just nine games in the 2021 season, going 8-for-22, .364 batting average, with one home run and five runs batted in (RBIs).

"The instincts stand out," Phillies player development director Preston Mattingly said. "He's advanced for his age. I think getting exposed to some of that international play. I think it helped him. He just puts himself in a really good position to hit. He's going to be on everything, and he has a really good awareness of the strike zone. He's as strong as a bull, too. He's humongous. He's going to have power."

The U-18 World Cup 2019 was not the only international experience for Lee. He represented world No. 2 Chinese Taipei at the WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup 2015, playing third base, hitting .500 and appearing in three games as a pitcher, and the U-15 Baseball World Cup 2018, playing shortstop, hitting .360, and appearing in four games as a pitcher.

"I love playing baseball," he said. "It doesn't matter where, if I'm playing baseball, I'm very happy to do it. When I'm right here, it's already super fun."

Lee is still communicating through an interpreter.

"If I can communicate well enough with my teammates and coaches, I'll be like 100 per cent more involved. I'll enjoy the game more," he added.