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AJM calls his shot: Rangers will pick Brooks Lee at #3

AJM predicts that the Rangers will pick Cal-Poly shortstop Brooks Lee in five months

Boston Red Sox v Chicago White Sox Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The 2022 MLB Draft is five months away. As I make a point of saying, repeatedly, every year, draft boards are going to change constantly, and it doesn’t make sense to pay much attention to rankings or mock drafts until there’s less than a month until draft day. Trying to predict in February who will go where when the draft rolls around in July is a fool’s errand.

But that’s not going to stop me from going out on a limb and predicting that the Rangers will select Cal-Poly shortstop Brooks Lee with the #3 overall pick.

So, who is this Brooks Lee person that I think will be smiling and holding up a Rangers jersey while standing next to Chris Young at a press conference in six months or so? I’m glad you asked...

Lee is a switch hitting shortstop who turned 21 three days ago, and who plays for Cal Poly. Lee was draft eligible out of San Luis Obispo High School in 2019, and was ranked #38 on BA’s draft board for that year, but fell due to signability concerns, which were exacerbated by the fact that if he went to college he’d be playing for his father, Larry Lee, who is the head coach at Cal Poly. The San Francisco Giants picked him in the 35th round, but didn’t sign him.

Lee only had two plate appearances his freshman year, due to a combination of an injury and the COVID pandemic, but had a solid summer campaign in the Northwoods League, and followed that up with a .342/.384/.626 slash line as a sophomore. This past summer, he slashed .405/.432/.667 in the wood bat Cape Cod League, a very impressive performance in a league that is seen as a prime testing ground for college players with professional aspirations.

In their first mock draft, Baseball America had Lee going to the Pittsburgh Pirates at #4, with the Rangers taking Elijah Green at #3. BA currently has Lee as the #3 college player in the 2022 draft. MLB Pipeline has Lee ranked #5 overall on its draft list.

In looking at the players currently projected to go at the top of the draft, Lee feels like the most Ranger-y guy to me. Lee is considered one of the best pure hitters in the draft, with MLB Pipeline saying scouts rave about “his otherworldly bat-to-ball skills” and ability consistently make hard contact. He gets very high grades for his makeup, baseball IQ and feel for the game. He doesn’t have a lot of power now, but there is some projection there, and his hit tool is seen as him being able allow his game power to play up. He’s a shortstop currently, though there are questions about whether he’ll have to move off the position, in which case he would likely end up at either second base or third base.

So...college bat who has performed at a high level, makes lots of hard contact, high makeup guy, terrific hit tool with potential power projection? Sounds very much like a potential Ranger draft pick to me.

Texas Tech infielder Jace Jung, the brother of likely 2022 Ranger third baseman Josh Jung, is another player I expect to see linked a lot to the Rangers leading up to the draft, and he checks a lot of the same boxes as Lee. Jung has more power right now, but he also seems likely to end up in left field or at DH, whereas Lee seems a safe bet to at least stay in the infield if he can’t stick at shortstop. It wouldn’t be shocking for the Rangers to go with Jung, though as of now, with the caveat it is five months out and none of us know nothin’ ‘bout nothin’, I think the Rangers would go with the guy who is something other than a pure bat play.

So bookmark this post, and be sure to remind me when the Rangers take someone else in July and we hear they never had any interest in Lee.