BRADENTON, Fla. — Brooks Lee earned an invite to his first major league camp this spring, soaked up all he could in 12 Grapefruit League games and on Saturday became the Twins’ top pick per MLB pipeline in the Minor league camp moved.
And what did Lee take away from more than a month with the twins?
“Just being with the major leagues; Nothing else matters. I just want to feel comfortable and at home, and that’s how I feel right now. I’m just looking forward to eventually getting up there and reconnecting with a lot of these guys.”
Lee, who finished with a run-scoring singles 4-1 in Minnesota’s 7-4 loss to the Pirates at LECOM Park on Saturday, will likely start the 2023 season with Double-A Wichita, where he earned his short , but notable ’22 campaign.
It wasn’t an unexpected transfer given the 22-year-old has just 31 games of professional baseball experience. Still, it was a disappointment to those who hadn’t seen MLB Pipeline’s No. 31 overall prospect per MLB pipeline in action, as well as Lee’s potential teammates like Carlos Correa, who lavished praise on the youngster.
“Man, that kid is a stud,” Correa said earlier this month. “I really, really, really like this kid. I’m very, very high on him. Don’t be surprised if we see him this year.”
“He had what I would call a near-perfect camp – because nothing is ever perfect, but he did everything and showed us everything we could have hoped for from him,” said manager Rocco Baldelli. “…I’ll bet on the kid.”
Lee, a shortstop and the No. 8 overall pick in the 2022 MLB draft, put a lot into a small dose of baseball this past season, cutting .303/.388/.451 in three minor league levels and making late-season picks earned a promotion to double A.
Minnesota native Matt Wallner was also selected for the minor league camp on Saturday. The fielder, who made his debut with the Twins in 2022, hit .207 in 11 Grapefruit League games.
Larnach continues to shoot forward
Whether Trevor Larnach will make it to the first Opening Day of his career will depend on a number of factors, but the 26-year-old outfielder continues to do everything he can to get his name out there.
On Saturday, Larnach – who is in the running for the fourth outfielder gig while the club monitor Alex Kirilloff’s slow recovery from his second right wrist surgery – finished 2-for-3 with a single, a homer and a walk to his raise spring average to .273 with five RBIs in eight games.
“You can just control whatever you can control and take it day by day and do what you have to do,” he said. “There’s going to be some stress there, but at the same time you just want to get the little things right and then hopefully you’ll get some good results throughout the Spring Training period.”
Recent Larnach successes included a line-drive single in the first inning from Pirates starter Mitch Keller, who came on a payoff pitch with two outs and left his bat at 104.5 mph.
Larnach also hit a home run to lead the fourth and boosted his second home run of the spring by a Statcast-projected 408 feet to center field with a starting speed of 100.4 mph.
Kirilloff got his first spring action Saturday during a Triple-A matchup, finishing 0-for-2 and playing four innings at first base. Should he miss opening day, Larnach’s door is wide open. He admitted that from time to time he thinks of the opportunity to break camp with the twins for the first time, but only outside of the park.
“When you’re in the game, you better not think about it,” he said. “If you’re between the white lines, you’re just in competitive mode.”