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New Phillies prospect has qualities that remind ISD of Jeff Kent

Citizens Bank Park has been the home of the Phillies since 2004. (Tim Kelly/Phillies Nation)

Last week, the Philadelphia Phillies officially signed Taiwanese second baseman Lee Hao-Yu to a deal that the organization hopes is the start of better luck in finding stars on the international market.

Phillies international scouting director Sal Agostinelli is especially high on Hao-Yu, who he says has qualities that remind him of former National League MVP Jeff Kent.

“… I’ll tell you one thing – this guy can really, really swing the pole,” Agostinelli told Pat McCarthy on the Lehigh Valley IronPigs Radio Network. “He’s showed power. He’s about 5-foot-10, 5-foot-11, but he’s about 190 [pounds]. He’s gonna be a decent sized kid. And I kind of relate him to a Jeff Kent-ish type guy – not quite that big, but he just has some serious bat speed and he’s got really advanced pitch recognition.

“Yeah, I hope he does as well as I think he’s gonna do, because of the fact that we saw him against the best pitching in the world. He laid off breaking balls, and any velocity that we saw – up to 97, 98 mph – he was all over. He hit well against the USA team, the best high school pitchers that came out in the draft last year. And he showed an ability to go the other way.”

Of course, if you mention an 18-year-old player reminding you of a five-time All-Star who some believe has a Hall of Fame-worthy résumé, Philadelphia won’t forget it if he doesn’t end up performing up to expectations. Scott Kingery’s baseball journey isn’t yet over, but comparisons of him from a few years to Dustin Pedroia feel very hyperbolic currently.

That said, with the chance that Bryson Stott graduates to the major league level at some point in the next year or so, the Phillies farm system desperately needs an injection of impact position-playing talent. Perhaps Hao-Yu can be the start of that.


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