There are about eight weeks left before the first day of the 2022 MLB draft, meaning that we still have plenty of time to look at top draft options for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who select fourth overall. A lot could change between now and then, so the plan is to look at all of the players who rank around where the Pirates select.
We recently started our Draft Prospect Watch articles, where we look at a new player each Sunday. Our first choice was Druw Jones. The next Sunday we looked at Elijah Green. That was followed by Jackson Holliday, who moved up some draft charts recently. In the fourth installment, we went with Termarr Johnson, who has been on the radar all season for the fourth overall pick. Last week was a name that has been linked to the Pirates recently, Cam Collier, who is the son of a former Pirates player. Today we look at a name that has been mentioned with the Pirates numerous times this year.
Brooks Lee is a 21-year-old switch-hitting shortstop from Cal Poly. He’s listed at 6’1″, 190 or 6’2″, 205, depending on the source. Lee had a major setback in 2020, besides the season being shortened by the pandemic. He required both knee and hamstring surgery. He returned healthy in 2021 to put up an OPS over 1.000 during the college season, then hit well in the summer, which led to him being highly ranked as a draft prospect going into this year. MLB Pipeline just matched him up with the Pirates in their last mock draft, so we will start by taking a look at their report.
Pipeline has Lee rated as a 65 hitter, which is about as good as you will see in most draft classes. His power gets a 55 grade, as does his arm. His running and fielding are both average. The first thing they mention about him is his “otherworldly bat-to-ball skills”. He rarely strikes out and he makes consistent hard contact. They note that he hits the ball hard from both sides of the plate and they project him to have more power as he continues to mature. Through 52 games this year, Lee was hitting .364/.471/.651, with 22 doubles, 12 homers, 43 walks and 23 strikeouts in 214 plate appearances.
On the defensive side, they believe that he might end up at third base in the future, where his arm will play up. They say he’s a very smart player and gets the most out of his tools, so shortstop is a possibility, even if it isn’t his best position. His dad has been in coaching since 1984, and the head coach at Cal Poly since 2003, so he’s had a baseball upbringing.
Lee recently made a move at Baseball America where they pushed him up to the second best prospect in this draft class. They call him an “easy plus hitter, with a repeatable swing from both sides of the plate”. They also noted his ability to make contact, while also mentioning that he not only handles strong velocity well, he also does well against players with strong off-speed pitches. They have the same assessment of his power, noting that he’s more of a doubles guy, but his ability to make consistent solid contact, as well as his size, could lead to more homers in the future. BA also gets the same reports from scouts who think he will move off of shortstop. They note that he has the hands and arm for the spot, but not the range. They mention second base as a possibility, along with third base.
Keith Law posted a mock draft on Thursday that has Lee going to the Pirates. His brief summary of Lee calls him the best college hitter in this class, both on paper and through scouting views. He also notes that he’s unlikely to play shortstop due to the range and he mentions second base and third base.
Everyone basically has the same report for Lee, so let’s look at some video:
This is a great video from Prospect Pipeline, with fielding first, then hitting from both sides of the plate and two different angles. You can see the easy/repeatable swing from the right side with great bat speed
One other video and it’s a recent grand slam he hit that might make you think the raw power is starting to show in game. He did not put a great swing on this ball and it was a no doubt shot
Cal Poly SS Brooks Lee blasted a grand slam last night, raising his season slash to .371/.481/.660 with 11 homers. He's running a 42:23 BB/K ratio, nearly 2:1.
At this stage, it's a pretty good bet he'll be a Top 10 pick in July. As polished/mature a profile as you can find. pic.twitter.com/m9DuSSd0pX
— Joe Doyle (@JoeDoyleMiLB) May 14, 2022