Brooks Lee's Debut Was A Reflection Of His Professional Development

Photo Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

When I talked to Brooks Lee at CHS last summer, he immediately gave off the undeniable vibe that he was a coach’s son. Sure, we gabbed about nonsense like his favorite ice cream flavor (he likes anything with peanut butter) and how much he despises the one-way streets scattered across Lowertown St. Paul. But he also spoke with the confidence and determination that all savants use when talking about their craft.

He said all the right things. He was focused on being a good teammate, felt like he was in the best shape of his life, and welcomed the challenge in front of him. And while Lee felt excited to be at the doorstep of the major leagues, he acknowledged that there was plenty of work to do before he would get the call.

“The pitching here has been much harder to handle compared to where I was at before. That’s no secret,” Lee said on that late-August afternoon. “I have to do a better job of getting on base. I think I’ll get where I want to be eventually. It’s just going to take some time.”

Well, the time was right on Wednesday. Lee got the official call to the big league club, with Royce Lewis going back on the injured list. It’s a special day for an exciting player and fan base hungry for as many special moments as they can find on their path back to the postseason.

“It never gets old for us to watch young men out there achieving their dreams right before your eyes,” said manager Rocco Baldelli. “Our sport is a pretty special sport in that regard where you get your moment basically in front of the entire stadium.”

Lee’s hopefully fabled career started with some understandable nerves. You could see it in his first at-bat. He had anxious pulses jittering down his leg, almost as if he was trying to find the perfect balance point before locking in on the incoming pitch. At the end of Round 1, Keider Montero froze him with a high slider to end the inning.

“No one can really help you once you get in the box,” Baldelli said. “You kind of got to go out there and fend for yourself and get it done.”

But it’s important to think about what Lee said just 10 months ago when he talked about doing the work and being patient before jumping the gun on his career. Just like his development at the Triple-A level, success wouldn’t be immediate.

In his first go at the minor leagues’ top level in 2023, Lee batted a good-not-great .237/.304/.428, which was roughly 22% below average at that level. He was swinging through more pitches, especially from the right side of the plate. However, some off-season elbow grease helped him reshape that swing, and his results since returning from a herniated disc injury to his back have been stellar.

That welcome return to dominance from both sides of the plate led him to this special moment, and the hard work behind the scenes could keep him here for a long time.

While it’s silly to look at one game under a microscope, the hope is that his second and third at-bats from his debut indicate what will come. And for the Twins, his emergence could be coming at the perfect time.

But that shouldn’t be a surprise. Coaches’ kids are rarely late.

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