COMING TO FRUITION
Baseball America|August 2021
Brooks Lee blossoms into a top draft prospect under his father’s tutelage at Cal Poly
JOE HEALY

Coaching your son at the Division I level is a difficult thing to navigate. It’s been said that the arrangement works best when the coach’s son is clearly a walk-on-type player who won’t play much. Or when the coach’s son is a superstar who no one can deny should be a centerpiece of the team.

Given that, Cal Poly coach Larry Lee is in an advantageous situation, because his son Brooks Lee is not only the best player on the Cal Poly roster—he’s also one of the best players in the country. No one is going to cry about nepotism when Brooks hits in the middle of the order and starts at shortstop, the most prominent position on the infield every day.

“If you coach your son in college, he better be really good or you know there’s a chance you get some flack from the outside world,” Larry said.

As Brooks played at San Luis Obispo (Calif.) High and on the showcase circuit, it would become clear just how talented and advanced he was, but there were earlier hints.

By seventh grade, Brooks was catching bullpens at Cal Poly. In eighth grade, when Cal Poly was short a guy or two during scrimmages, Larry would put his son in the field at second base or shortstop.

Those opportunities were a window into the competitive nature of a young Brooks Lee and illustrated his high standards.

Here he was fielding hotshot grounders and trying to turn double plays against Division I players in some cases eight years older than he was, and he was still bothered by the mistakes he made in those scrimmages.

“I still remember everything about it,” Brooks said. “I still remember all the errors I made and how fast the ball was going.”

Now, Brooks has ridden that competitive spirit—and considerable talent—to a place among the very best prospects for the 2022 draft.

He really burst onto the scene in 2021, hitting .342/.384/.626 with 27 doubles and 10 home runs. A switch-hitter, he was considered one of the best pure hitters in the 2019 high school class, and that skill set has translated into college. He has also used sure hands, good footwork and excellent feel for the game to become a quality defensive shortstop.

At the plate, Lee’s power has come on and allowed his star to shine even brighter. Ten home runs was an impressive number, but as he continues to add strength to a sturdy 6-foot-2, 205-pound frame, it’s easy to see some of those 27 doubles finding their way over the fence.

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