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Brooks Lee's Stock is Already Rising


Twins Daily Contributor

Minnesota was ecstatic to have Brooks Lee fall to them with the 8th overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft. Now, he's proving that other teams might have been wrong to leave him on the board that long.

Image courtesy of Steve Buhr, Twins Daily

 

MLB scouting departments have followed Brooks Lee since he was a high schooler in California. As the son of Cal Poly's head coach Larry Lee, he has grown up around baseball. In the 2019 MLB Draft, he fell to the 35th round because teams knew he wanted to play in college for his dad. Unfortunately, the pandemic limited his first college season, and he suffered an injury that required knee and hamstring surgery.   

In 2021, Lee returned and showed why he had been a highly ranked high school prospect. He hit .342/.384/.626 (1.010) with 27 doubles, three triples, and ten home runs in 55 games. Lee also showed tremendous control of the strike zone with a 34-to-18 strikeout to walk ratio. He was named the co-Big West Player of the Year at the season's end. After the season, he headed to the Cape Cod League and continued to hit with a 1.099 OPS. This performance helped improve his draft stock because this league utilizes wood bats, and it didn't stop Lee from putting up strong numbers. 

It's hard to imagine, but Lee performed better during his junior year, establishing himself as the best college bat in the 2022 draft class. In 58 games, he hit .357/.462/.664 (1.125) with 25 doubles and 15 home runs. Some felt he should be a top-3 pick in the draft, so it was surprising that he fell to the Twins with the eighth overall selection. Another team's loss is Minnesota's gain, as he is already showing his potential in his first professional season. 

Minnesota has been aggressive with Lee as the team promoted him to High-A after only four games in rookie ball. Since arriving in Cedar Rapids, he has hit .297/.391/.473 (.863) with four doubles and four home runs. Even as a college draftee, he is over a year younger than the average age of the competition at his level, with over 73% of his at-bats coming against older pitchers. It's a small sample size, but Lee is already showcasing his elite hit tool.

The Twins drafted Lee as a shortstop, but he will likely move to third base as he continues to mature. His arm is considered above average, so that he will play well at the hot corner. So far in his professional career, all his defensive innings have been at shortstop, so the Twins aren't ready to move him yet. Overall, his hit tool will carry him no matter his eventual defensive position. 

Many national outlets updated their prospect lists throughout the season, and Lee is in the discussion for Minnesota's top prospect. For instance, MLB.com has Lee ranked as baseball's 33rd best prospect, and that was before his performance at High-A. According to their rankings, Lee is one of three prospects to have a hit grade of 65 or higher, with the potential to reach a 70-hit tool in the future. Lee will likely continue to rise on national prospect lists as other players graduate and he continues to build his professional resume. 

How high is Lee's ceiling? Where do you think he will rank on top-100 lists heading into the 2023 season? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

 


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4 minutes ago, PDX Twin said:

Maybe, as the son of a coach, he will already know how to bunt and hit to all fields, skills that the Twins seem unable or unwilling to develop in their prospects.

No reason to know how to do either of those now. They just changed the rules to make it easier for pull-happy hitters.

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26 minutes ago, PDX Twin said:

Maybe, as the son of a coach, he will already know how to bunt and hit to all fields, skills that the Twins seem unable or unwilling to develop in their prospects.

For what it's worth the Twins pull the ball 39.3% of the time vs 38% league average. Go to center 35.5% vs 37% league average. And go oppo 25.2% vs 25.1% league average.

Arraez, Gordon, Miranda, Larnach, Kirilloff, and Celestino all have quite nicely dispersed spray charts. So I guess the Twins are able and willing to develop that particular skill in at least some of their prospects.

And nobody bunts anymore. You're going to have to give up on that dream. There are very few situations where bunting makes sense.

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28 minutes ago, DJL44 said:

No reason to know how to do either of those now. They just changed the rules to make it easier for pull-happy hitters.

With the old rules using a left foul line to right foul line approacht and intentionally striving no to swing for home runs, Rod Carew was much better than the very good and valuable Luis Arraez, hitting .350, .359, .364, .388 with the approach that Max Kepler doesn’t use. It remains to be seen if Kepler’s pull oriented approach benefits from fielders being aligned as they have for 164/167 years of baseball.

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When I was much younger, I watched my Brewers draft a young high school shortstop who was with the team the next year.  That was the beginning of Robin Yount’s Hall of Fame career.  Someday some team will draft a young man who will be the next Yount.  Yes, Lee isn’t an 18 year old pick.  But why can’t it be the Twins who get this special player?  And why can’t he be Brooks Lee?

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34 minutes ago, Rosterman said:

Why is Dalton Shuffield at the St. Paul Saints and not Brooks Lee, for the final month of the season?

He was hitting very well even if in significantly less at bats. I looked back at his college record and it was pretty awesome. I don’t really know why he leapfrogged Lee.  At first, I thought maybe it was because of Polanco’s injury and they might be planning on playing him a few games at St. Paul, then up to the Twins to play 2nd base. If he’s up to it, this could strengthen the team but getting Gordon back in LF, thereby strengthening the OF, if only a bit.

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4 minutes ago, DJL44 said:

Better question - why are they playing Sheffield at 2B when they could have promoted Edouard Julien?

Agree that Jullien deserves it more but they are probably keeping AA's best hitter for the playoffs at AA since the Saints are not in the running for the playoffs.  Jullien will start at AAA next year and will be a phone call away from the MLB team so a few missed AAA chances won't change anything.

As for Lee same thing.  The Kernals need bats for the playoffs and Lee will be set to start AA next year and if he performs well they might want to make room on the 40 man for him but odds are they don't do that until 2024 but we'll see.  If he truly is special he has a shot to make it next year but no reason to rush him anywhere right now IMO.

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11 minutes ago, Greglw3 said:

With the old rules using a left foul line to right foul line approacht and intentionally striving no to swing for home runs, Rod Carew was much better than the very good and valuable Luis Arraez, hitting .350, .359, .364, .388 with the approach that Max Kepler doesn’t use. It remains to be seen if Kepler’s pull oriented approach benefits from fielders being aligned as they have for 164/167 years of baseball.

Rod Carew was much better than almost every single player in MLB history. He has the 62nd highest bWAR total in MLB history with only 2 of the 1,200 active players today having a higher career bWAR. Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. Carew is also ahead of hacks like Pete Rose, Robin Yount, Ozzie Smith, Paul Molitor, Johnny Bench, Reggie Jackson, etc.

Using Rod Carew as the baseline is ridiculous, not that the stats even exist to even tell us whether or not you're accurate. Kepler is not an All Star player. He's a solid regular starter. I agree, it's stupid he hasn't learned how to bunt as laying down a decent bunt would be a guaranteed hit for him a lot of the time, but I'd like to not hold Kepler to the bar of Carew.
 

kepler.jpg

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He's probably #1 Twins prospect, and should start 2023 in Wichita, then move to St Paul in a month if he does well. Put him at 3B, spend the winter teaching Miranda how to field 1B, bring in a stopgap SS to make way for Lewis next year. By 2024 infield is Miranda/Arraez platoon 1B/DH, unknown 2B, Lewis SS, Lee 3B, Gordon utility. Or move Gordon to 2B and sign a utility guy. Cant imagine they will pay Polanco 10M in 2024, trade or buyout next year with him. 

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"And nobody bunts anymore. You're going to have to give up on that dream. There are very few situations where bunting makes sense."

If it was a dream, it was a recurring dream for 100 years.  And every team in baseball was having that dream.  :)  

Somehow it made sense for 100 years, but not now.  Did the game change, or did the players?  Kind of like when the NBA went to the 3 point shot, nobody thought practicing free throws was worth it anymore.   And yet, when a guy hits the other way to advance a runner, or hits a fly ball that does the same, it is referred to as "a productive out", and everyone high fives him.  Hmmmmm........a productive out, and a bunt.........let me ponder that.  :)  

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Looking ahead to ‘24, could our core starting four infielders be Miranda, Lewis, Lee and Arraez? If so, who plays what position?

Let’s assume Lewis is at SS. Could Lee play 2B with Miranda at 3B and Arraez at 1B? Or is Lee at 3B, Arraez at 2B, and Miranda at 1B.

Regardless, that’s a strong (and pretty cheap) starting core infield.  
 

(Just for kicks, Larnach, Buxton and Kiriloff in the outfield.  Jeffers at C.  Gordon, Wallner, Isola and maybe Martin as core backups. Not too shabby.  Lots of money left over for FA pitching and whatever hole we need to fill, i.e. catcher, etc.). 

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7 minutes ago, Mark G said:

"And nobody bunts anymore. You're going to have to give up on that dream. There are very few situations where bunting makes sense."

If it was a dream, it was a recurring dream for 100 years.  And every team in baseball was having that dream.  :)  

Somehow it made sense for 100 years, but not now.  Did the game change, or did the players?  Kind of like when the NBA went to the 3 point shot, nobody thought practicing free throws was worth it anymore.   And yet, when a guy hits the other way to advance a runner, or hits a fly ball that does the same, it is referred to as "a productive out", and everyone high fives him.  Hmmmmm........a productive out, and a bunt.........let me ponder that.  :)  

Outs are bad. A productive out is better than a non-productive out. But both are bad. Teams no longer find it useful to freely give up an out to advance a base runner 1 base (especially from 1st to 2nd) when it doesn't actually increase your chance of scoring. You may not like it, but that's the new reality of the league and it's not going to ever get back to the point where offenses are willing to give up their most valuable asset for anything outside of an actual run scored.

It was a recurring dream for 100 years that pitchers didn't throw splitters either. Do you want Duran or Maeda to quit throwing their splitters because nobody threw one for 100 years? We've gotten smarter and adjusted how we play the game because of it. Sacrifice bunts are bad baseball outside of a couple very specific situations. For 100 years it was also every team's dream to have a SS who could field, but not hit. Same with 2nd basemen. No 2B are expected to be legit bats and a SS better be able to hit and field. 

You can ponder whatever you want, but the provable fact is that bunting is bad strategy. I'm sorry if you don't like that change in the game, but it's one you're going to have to accept. (Now bunting for a hit against the shift is a different story, but with the shift ban next year it's probably a less useful tool)

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3 minutes ago, Nashvilletwin said:

Looking ahead to ‘24, could our core starting four infielders be Miranda, Lewis, Lee and Arraez? If so, who plays what position?

Let’s assume Lewis is at SS. Could Lee play 2B with Miranda at 3B and Arraez at 1B? Or is Lee at 3B, Arraez at 2B, and Miranda at 1B.

Regardless, that’s a strong (and pretty cheap) starting core infield.  
 

(Just for kicks, Larnach, Buxton and Kiriloff in the outfield.  Jeffers at C.  Gordon, Wallner, Isola and maybe Martin as core backups. Not too shabby.  Lots of money left over for FA pitching and whatever hole we need to fill, i.e. catcher, etc.). 

In this hypothetical I think I go Lee-Lewis-Arraez-Miranda from left to right. Definitely Lee and Lewis on the left side, though. They have significantly better arms than the other 2 so they're the ones I want making the longer throws. 

It's fun to dream on what this team can be if those 4 hit their peaks. And you add in that OF trio at their peaks and the offense looks really nice, and cheap! There are some real things to hope on for the future of the Twins. Let's hope they are able to make smart moves to supplement the young guys while getting the young guys to perform to the best of their potentials! 

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18 minutes ago, Mark G said:

"And nobody bunts anymore. You're going to have to give up on that dream. There are very few situations where bunting makes sense."

If it was a dream, it was a recurring dream for 100 years.  And every team in baseball was having that dream.  :)  

Somehow it made sense for 100 years, but not now.  Did the game change, or did the players?  Kind of like when the NBA went to the 3 point shot, nobody thought practicing free throws was worth it anymore.   And yet, when a guy hits the other way to advance a runner, or hits a fly ball that does the same, it is referred to as "a productive out", and everyone high fives him.  Hmmmmm........a productive out, and a bunt.........let me ponder that.  :)  

But there is a difference swinging the bat and bunting. Your chances of getting a hit on a fly ball or hitting to the right side of the infield are much higher than laying down a bunt. 

While all these things move runners over the odds of the bunt resulting in an out are significantly higher than the others. 

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2 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

Let's hope they are able to make smart moves to supplement the young guys while getting the young guys to perform to the best of their potentials! 

You nailed it. It’s one thing to have the players, it’s another to get them to maximise their potential. Hopefully, we find the right leadership and system to make that a reality.

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8 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

In this hypothetical I think I go Lee-Lewis-Arraez-Miranda from left to right. Definitely Lee and Lewis on the left side, though. They have significantly better arms than the other 2 so they're the ones I want making the longer throws. 

It's fun to dream on what this team can be if those 4 hit their peaks. And you add in that OF trio at their peaks and the offense looks really nice, and cheap! There are some real things to hope on for the future of the Twins. Let's hope they are able to make smart moves to supplement the young guys while getting the young guys to perform to the best of their potentials! 

This all depends on development. If those 4 peak as you say. You can often dream on what the team may look like based on top prospects, but development into star major leaguers is a big leap. For example, Buxton and Sano. "Buxton, Sano named No. 1 and No. 3 prospects | FOX" (headline clicked from a search for history's sake). 

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9 minutes ago, Morneau for Gov said:

This all depends on development. If those 4 peak as you say. You can often dream on what the team may look like based on top prospects, but development into star major leaguers is a big leap. For example, Buxton and Sano. "Buxton, Sano named No. 1 and No. 3 prospects | FOX" (headline clicked from a search for history's sake). 

Oh, I'm with you. I'm not suggesting they sit back and assume these things happen. I'd resign Correa to a 7 year deal and then figure out what to do with the excess after that if/when Lewis and Lee establish themselves, and Miranda shows that this is who he is moving forward and the league doesn't figure him out. Was just having a little fun with that proposed hypothetical of those 4 reaching their peaks and manning the IF for the Twins for the next 7-10 years. Need a few happy thoughts during this injury riddled stretch of brutal Twins baseball.

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1 hour ago, chpettit19 said:

Outs are bad. A productive out is better than a non-productive out. But both are bad. Teams no longer find it useful to freely give up an out to advance a base runner 1 base (especially from 1st to 2nd) when it doesn't actually increase your chance of scoring. You may not like it, but that's the new reality of the league and it's not going to ever get back to the point where offenses are willing to give up their most valuable asset for anything outside of an actual run scored.

It was a recurring dream for 100 years that pitchers didn't throw splitters either. Do you want Duran or Maeda to quit throwing their splitters because nobody threw one for 100 years? We've gotten smarter and adjusted how we play the game because of it. Sacrifice bunts are bad baseball outside of a couple very specific situations. For 100 years it was also every team's dream to have a SS who could field, but not hit. Same with 2nd basemen. No 2B are expected to be legit bats and a SS better be able to hit and field. 

You can ponder whatever you want, but the provable fact is that bunting is bad strategy. I'm sorry if you don't like that change in the game, but it's one you're going to have to accept. (Now bunting for a hit against the shift is a different story, but with the shift ban next year it's probably a less useful tool)

Ah, yes, we are so much smarter now.  And everything we did then is out of date, and who would ever think about "old school" baseball?  Would I want pitchers to stop throwing pitches that clearly are blowing their arms out?  Let me see............YES!  Would I rather have pitchers throwing 240, 260, or, just maybe, 300 innings a year, vs. 140, 160, or, just maybe, 200 innings?  Let me see.......YES!  And I would rather have guys moving runners along, meaning into scoring position, if the situation calls for it.  And, yes, the situation doesn't always call for it.  But waiting for hits, or home runs, has gotten us where?  Scoring 3 runs or less 45 plus percent of the time.  That is a statistical fact.  Maybe a little small ball would be appropriate now and then, new reality or not.  And defense in your infield..........wow, what a concept.  Might just be that it is worth at least a little bit.  Teams still look for it.  

Please don't take all of this as an insult. ,or a pure assessment that you, or anyone who thinks alike, is totally wrong.  It is just an assessment that "old school" is not totally wrong either.  A mixture of both just might be the mix we need to get more out of the roster we have.  

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2 hours ago, Nashvilletwin said:

Looking ahead to ‘24, could our core starting four infielders be Miranda, Lewis, Lee and Arraez? If so, who plays what position?

Let’s assume Lewis is at SS. Could Lee play 2B with Miranda at 3B and Arraez at 1B? Or is Lee at 3B, Arraez at 2B, and Miranda at 1B.

Regardless, that’s a strong (and pretty cheap) starting core infield.  
 

(Just for kicks, Larnach, Buxton and Kiriloff in the outfield.  Jeffers at C.  Gordon, Wallner, Isola and maybe Martin as core backups. Not too shabby.  Lots of money left over for FA pitching and whatever hole we need to fill, i.e. catcher, etc.). 

And is Austin Martin still in the mix, perhaps?

Would Lewis be a bet to play in the outfield. Who knows how durable Buxton wil

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1 hour ago, farmerguychris said:

Just gotta keep him healthy.  WAY TOO MANY great prospects in Twins history have looked great until something happens.....

So far looking like a great pick!

You nailed the real issue.  We have not had a good record with health - even with the arbitrary days off (a goofy idea) and DH days.  A player has to be conditioned and play the position correctly.  Being healthy is not a wish, it is a result. 

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15 minutes ago, jkcarew said:

Yeah. It’s usually only late in the game or extras, where one run wins the game. Who cares about that.

What's your point here? That I'm right about bunting as a strategy for producing runs being bad, but also right about there being situations where it does make sense?

Yes, bunting late in games when you know you need just 1 run can be a smart move. No, the Twins laying down more sacrifices in order to "manufacture runs" throughout the year wouldn't help this offense.

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