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The Road to The Show™: Twins’ Lee

No. 23 overall prospect remaining disciplined in first full season
Brooks Lee was selected by the Twins with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2022 Draft. (Joshua Tjiong/
June 6, 2023

Each week, profiles an elite prospect by chronicling the steps he's taken toward achieving his Major League dream. Here's a look at top Twins prospect Brooks Lee. For more stories about players on The Road to The Show, click here. While it seems Brooks Lee’s bat has come back

Each week, profiles an elite prospect by chronicling the steps he's taken toward achieving his Major League dream. Here's a look at top Twins prospect Brooks Lee. For more stories about players on The Road to The Show, click here.

While it seems Brooks Lee’s bat has come back down to earth in his first full professional season, he’s still showing some of the defining characteristics that made him a top Draft prospect last year.

After tearing up just about every league he’s played in since high school, Lee has produced more modest numbers in his first full season with Double-A Wichita. He enters the week batting .262 with a .756 OPS and 20 extra-base hits, including four homers.

But his ability to put the bat on the ball and limit strikeouts has endured. So far this season, Lee has a 17.1 percent whiff rate and is one of only 84 Minor Leaguers with a strikeout rate that low and a walk rate of at least 10 percent.

"He’s a creative, skilled, instinctual player," Twins scouting director Sean Johnson told after last year’s Draft. "He comes from a really strong baseball family. They’re similar in that nature, that they just have really good instincts, elite baseball IQ, great feel for the game. Really great feel to hit in the batter’s box.”

Lee was a potential first-round talent in 2019 coming out of San Luis Obispo High School in California. But most scouts knew he was locked into his college commitment to Cal Poly, where his father, Larry, was the baseball coach. In fact, Brooks Lee’s grandfather, Tom, also coached baseball, basketball, boxing and football at Cal Poly and is in the school’s Hall of Fame.

“[Playing for my dad was] the best decision I ever made in my life,” Lee told MLB Network before the Draft last year. “It was a big decision and I’ve never looked back. I enjoyed every single moment, even when I got yelled at by him on the field – constantly.”

The 5-foot-11, 205-pound switch hitter got an early jump on his college career playing with Corvallis in the West Coast League, a collegiate summer circuit, in 2019 before enrolling at Cal Poly and was fortunate to get some games in before a tumultuous freshman year.

During a preseason game that fall, Lee suffered a lateral collateral ligament tear in his knee and a hamstring tear while running out a ground ball. Although there were questions about whether he’d be able to play again, Lee had surgery and recovered in time for the season, which was then cut short due to the pandemic.

Lee made up for the lost time playing with the Willmar Stingers in the Northwoods League that summer. He opened his season there with a 19-game hitting streak and finished with a .345 average and .866 OPS.

His Northwoods League performance showed he was able to put the injuries behind him, but his first full season at Cal Poly in 2021 removed all doubt. Lee was a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist after batting .342/.384/.626 in 55 games. He also set the school’s single-season doubles record with 27.

After a season that seemed to be his breakout, Lee was even better with wood bats against stiff competition that summer with Yarmouth-Dennis in the Cape Cod League. In 21 games, Lee hit .405, becoming the first player in 19 years to hit better than .400 in the prestigious collegiate summer league. He even started to show some power, leaving the yard six times and collecting four doubles.

MLB Pipeline’s No. 23 overall prospect played in fewer games than most in the Cape Cod League as he took off midseason to play with USA Baseball's Collegiate National Team, who competed in some intrasquad games and played a series against the 2021 U.S. Olympic Team in Cary, North Carolina.

Lee entered the 2022 season as one of the higher-ranking Draft prospects in the country and did nothing to dissuade scouts of this notion during his final college season. He finished with a .357 average and 1.125 OPS and won the Brooks Wallace Award, given to the nation's top college shortstop. He collected 25 doubles, 15 homers and 55 RBIs and drew 46 walks while striking out only 28 times.

The Twins were surprised to nab Lee with the No. 8 overall pick.

"We were hoping to get a player who would make it to our pick who maybe we didn’t think would absolutely get there," Johnson told "Brooks Lee fits that bill. Our room was thrilled when we were able to select him, that he made it down that far. You just didn’t know how the board is going to fall."

Lee signed with the Twins later that month for a reported $5.68 million bonus, which was just above slot value. After four games in the Rookie-level Florida Complex League, he was promoted to High-A Cedar Rapids, where he finished the regular season with a .289 average and .849 OPS. Following the Midwest League playoffs, Lee was promoted to finish out Wichita’s regular season and participate in the Texas League playoffs.

Although neither the Kernels nor Wind Surge won their league titles, Lee was brilliant in the postseason, particularly with Wichita, where he collected eight hits in 18 at-bats.

In his first big league camp this spring, Lee continued to make a noteworthy impression. Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said Lee had a “near-perfect camp” and “showed us everything that we would be hoping to see from him.”

The Twins signing of shortstop Carlos Correa in the offseason seemed to complicate Lee’s future with the club. But even Correa was impressed by Lee’s spring performance and told that he wouldn’t “be surprised if we see him up this year.”

So far, it doesn’t seem like that leap to Minnesota is imminent, but Lee’s bat has already taken him very far in this game.

Gerard Gilberto is a reporter for