MLB Pipeline’s Jonathan Mayo: Brooks Lee Is ‘Without Question’ Draft’s Top College Bat

MLB Pipeline’s Jonathan Mayo says Cal Poly shortstop Brooks Lee is “without question” the best college hitter in the 2022 draft class and will have the bat to profile wherever he ends up in the infield once he makes his way to the major leagues.

Lee was considered one of the top college bats available in the 2022 MLB Draft entering the spring and has done nothing to dispel that notion thus far. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound shortstop is hitting .374/.476/.694 with far more walks (44) than strikeouts (23) entering play against Hawaii May 26-28. The big question about Lee is what position he winds up playing in pro ball.

Mayo says he’d send Lee out as a shortstop initially, then adjust later if need be.

“I think if I were a team, I’d let him play short. I’d have him get time at third or second. I think he could be a Gold Glove-caliber player at either of those positions,” Mayo said on Glenn Clark Radio May 18. “The arm certainly works for third and he’s going to hit enough wherever you put him. … He won’t have huge range. He’ll continue to fill out some as he physical matures, but he makes all the plays he’s supposed to. When he gets to it, he makes the play.”

Lee was a well-regarded prospect in the 2019 draft, but a strong commitment to Cal Poly pushed him all the way to the 35th round, where he was taken by the San Francisco Giants. Lee opted to play for his father, Larry, who is the head coach at Cal Poly. But Lee’s college career got off to a rocky start, as a freak injury to his knee and hamstring during the fall of 2019 sidelined him for most of the COVID-shortened 2020 season.

Lee bounced back in a big way in 2021, hitting .342/.384/.626 with 10 homers. This year he’s taken another step forward, having totaled 40 extra-base hits already. The injury that set him back seems well behind him at this point.

“He seems completely fine,” Mayo said. “Those questions would have to be answered. Whether or not that would make a team back off taking him 1:1, I don’t know.”

Atlanta-area high school outfielder Druw Jones is the consensus No. 1 prospect in the draft, with fellow high school hitters Termarr Johnson, Elijah Green and Jackson Holliday all in the mix at the top of the draft as well. Lee, Georgia Tech catcher Kevin Parada and LSU outfielder Jacob Berry are college hitters who have been mentioned as high first-round picks.

The Orioles have taken college hitters with their top pick three straight years under GM Mike Elias. Could they continue down that path with Lee? Or maybe even with Parada, despite already having Adley Rutschman? Mayo won’t totally discount the possibility.

“I don’t see the Orioles doing that, although he’s athletic. If you like the bat enough, you could move him to left field, but I don’t think you do that at 1:1,” Mayo said of Parada, who is hitting .362/.451/.746 with 26 homers for the Yellow Jackets. “Then again, the Orioles have done some things the last couple years that you didn’t know that they were going to do. Mike Elias keeps things very close to the vest, so we’re going to have to wait and see, but those are the only two college bats that I think could conceivably come up in conversation for that top pick.”

See Also:
2022 MLB Draft Prospect Brooks Lee On Why It’d Be Special To Be Selected By Orioles
ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel: Why Druw Jones Is Top Prospect In 2022 MLB Draft

For more from Mayo, listen to the full interview here:

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Cal Poly Athletics

Luke Jackson

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