Draft Prospect Watch: Brooks Lee Has Been Connected to the Pirates All Season

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




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My first three preferences are not likely going to be there for the Pirates to take….Jones, Green, and Holliday. I would prefer Lee to Johnson….as Johnson’s physical build would concern me long term….If they take Lee, how many AAA at bats does he need to have before getting to Pittsburgh? That seems to be a standard that only the Pirates adhere to.


another low ceiling college player wooooo sounds awesome


The “get off my lawn” inner self is really bothered by the “stand there and admire his work” reaction Lee had to his Grand Slam.

I know this is how the game is played these days. But it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

He just seems like the new Nicky Sticks. Drafting him means we don’t believe in Gonzales, Hayes, Peguero, and/or Cruz. As such I would go in another direction.


I don’t know, if the bat is truly otherworldly then if he is the best player available at #4 then you take him. A surplus at as many positions as possible for the pirates is the best thing for them. Lets face it, the Pirates are not extending multiple players or bringing in superstars to 8 year 250 mil. contracts so you take the closest to sure thing bats and if you have someone who is forcing the Pirates hand to be moved up because they are that good then you can trade the guy getting ready to leave because of free agency. (I don’t like it, but it is unfortunately the Pirate way).


How’s he like Sticks? Other than middle infield? He seems much more contact over power, unlike G. Drafting him isn’t a reflection on anyone else they have.


You could say the same thing about drafting Termarr Johnson, Jace Jung, Cam Collier, or Jackson Holliday. Considering that Druw Jones and Elijah Green are the two most likely to be off the board when the Pirates pick you’d basically be pigeonholed into picking Parada and going back to back years with catchers as top 5 picks or taking Lesko who just had Tommy John.

Personally I think Lee or Johnson are the two most likely to become Pirates unless one of Jones, Green or Holliday fall to them.


Another reason I hope they strike an under slot deal w Lesko.


Is Rocker available to be drafted this year again?


Yes. He’s in Indy league in upstate NY. Signed last week I believe.


The upper half of his body in his swing is great. Steady hands that stay back, clean bat path to the ball and solid hip movement to turn on the ball. I think he could generate more power from his lower half though. Not quite sure what adjustment could unlock that but he just seems a little to stiff and upright with his legs. Maybe closing his stance a half step pre-pitch for a slightly longer stride in his swing? I don’t know, he just seems to muscle the ball with his upper half to me. I’d still be happy with him if the Pirates take him, this is kinda nitpicking really because what he’s doing is working for him.

Last edited 1 month ago by jimmyz

Yes, I was impressed with how quick and compact his swing is. After reading this article and watching the videos, I’d be on board if he’s our pick.


Lee would be my choice unless somehow Jones would be available. He would be hard to pass up. Lee is probably the second best hitter (the most important skill to have) to Johnson and easily the most advanced. “As polished/mature a profile as you can find.” He could be in Pittsburgh in a couple of years instead of the 5-6 it would take any high schooler and become part of the current group of prospects everyone is hoping will lead to winning.


Seems like a good add to hitting side, if Gonzalez can right his ship and hit maybe Brooks Lee will add a great hitter at SS or 3B, love the minimal K rate, should be a great addition if it happens

Last edited 1 month ago by timbre21
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