SF Giants show interest in S. Korean minor leaguer Lee Hak-ju

November 9, 2015
South Korean minor league player Lee Hak-ju (Yonhap)

South Korean minor league player Lee Hak-ju (Yonhap)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — The San Francisco Giants are showing interest in South Korean minor league infielder Lee Hak-ju, an informed source told Yonhap News Agency on Monday.

A senior official with the Giants is interested in acquiring the 24-year-old free agent shortstop, and has begun reviewing Lee’s scouting reports from his high school days and his minor league years, the source said.

According to another source, several other teams are also showing interest in Lee, who joined the Chicago Cubs system out of high school in 2009.

Lee spent last season with the Tampa Bay Rays’ Triple-A Affiliate, the Durham Bulls, batting .220 with three home runs and 27 RBIs along with 20 steals in 96 games. The Rays designated him for assignment in early September to make room for another player on their 40-man roster.

Lee, better known for his defense and speed than his bat, has yet to play in the majors. He was traded to the Rays in 2011 and was quickly regarded as one of the team’s most promising prospects.

In 2011, Lee was rated the Rays’ No. 25 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com, as he split his time between Single-A and Double-A.

Lee has since been slowed by assorted injuries. In August 2012, he suffered a season-ending oblique strain while playing in Double-A.

Only 15 games into the 2013 season for Durham, Lee tore ligaments in his left knee and missed the rest of the season.

For his minor league career, Lee is a .270 hitter with 20 home runs, 197 RBIs and 165 steals in 631 games. His offensive stats should be taken with a grain of salt considering that he hit well in Single A from 2009 to 2011, but struggled beyond that.