Former Phillies trade chip for Lorenzen is now Tigers’ top international prospect

A former Phillies prospect sent to Detroit for Michael Lorenzen ranks as the Tigers' top international prospect.
Former Philadelphia Phillies prospect Hao-Yu Lee ranks as the Detroit Tigers' top international prospect
Former Philadelphia Phillies prospect Hao-Yu Lee ranks as the Detroit Tigers' top international prospect / Evan Petzold / USA TODAY NETWORK

There's a familiar face for Philadelphia Phillies fans in MLB Pipeline's recent article on the top international prospect of each MLB team. Unfortunately, this top prospect is no longer with the team thanks to a 2023 trade.

Hao-Yu Lee, the 20-year-old second baseman, is ranked as the No. 8 prospect in the Detroit Tigers organization as of Pipeline's last update and has now been named the top international prospect as well. The former Phillies prospect was dealt on Aug. 1 of last year for Michael Lorenzen, a starter/reliever who had some great moments for the Phillies in his short stint with the team. Lorenzen still stands as a free agent waiting for his chance with a new club after an All-Star season.

Originally signed out of Taiwan as an 18-year-old for $570,000, his quick rise up the Phillies prospect list came off the back of his baseball instincts and hard work ethic, leading him to be better than most had envisioned.

Lee, a middle infielder by trade, showed flashes of an above-average hit tool during his three seasons in the Phillies minor league system. Over parts of those three years, Lee slashed .282/.376/.432 with 16 homers and 90 RBI in 163 games. While he's only 5-foot-9 and comes in just under 200 pounds, there is some pop in the bat, especially since it has been reported that he has added almost 10 pounds in the offseason, filling out his frame as he encroaches on a promotion.

Lee was injured and didn't play in the Tigers minor leagues last season, but went to the Arizona Fall League where he slashed .265/.373/.367 with one home run and nine RBI over 13 games.

The Tigers currently have the eighth-ranked farm system according to Bleacher Report's most recent update, so it is impressive to see someone like Hao-Yu Lee take this honor. While in Philadelphia, Lee was blocked by two long-term solutions up the middle of the diamond.

Trea Turner, who had just received an 11-year, $300 million deal, and Bryson Stott, who had a breakout year in his sophomore season, hitting close to .300 all year while playing Gold Glove-caliber defense, look to be the infield pairing for the Phillies for the foreseeable future.

At last year's deadline, pitching was of importance as injuries brought question marks to the rotation. Lorenzen, who was just coming off his first All-Star appearance, looked to give the Phillies another weapon either out of the rotation or bullpen in October.

The Tigers No. 8 prospect looks to continue to work on his swing and develop as a minor leaguer as well as an adult. His baseball instincts will continue to give him a leg up on the defensive and baserunning side of the ball. A successful campaign at the plate could see Lee moving up to the Tigers' higher minor league teams, possibly to the Double-A Erie SeaWolves this year.

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