Drew Thorpe (33) pitches as Cal Poly Baseball takes on San Jose State at Baggett Stadium on Thursday, April 1, 2021. (MANDATORY CREDIT: Kyle Calzia / Mustang News)

Cal Poly baseball will open up the 2022 season with two MLB draft prospects on their roster: Brooks Lee and Drew Thorpe. They will look to lead the way for the Mustangs, who hope to make their first NCAA Regional since 2014.

“As it pertains to the MLB draft, there’s a lot of players that really struggle with putting a lot of pressure on themselves to do well and perform in front of scouts,” head coach Larry Lee said. “What Drew and Brooks have, they don’t put that type of pressure on themselves.”

According to MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Draft prospects, Brooks Lee is listed as the No. 5 player overall. He is their No. 2 college player and No. 1 shortstop.

“That’s what our goal has always been, to play Major League Baseball and be an impactful player at the big league level,” Brooks Lee said. “We’re looking forward to that when the time comes.”

Brooks Lee was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 35th round of the 2019 MLB Draft directly out of high school, even after he notified all 30 professional teams that he decided to honor his verbal commitment to play at Cal Poly.

After missing almost the entire 2020 season with injuries, Brooks Lee broke out in the 2021 season. En route to being named the Big West Conference Co-Field Player of the Year, he led the Mustangs in batting average, home runs, RBIs, hits, triples and total bases at the plate. In the field, he ranked second in fielding percentage amongst shortstops in the Big West. 

His efficiency at the plate and in the field led him to be one of six finalists for the Brooks Wallace Award, which goes to the nation’s top shortstop. Brooks Lee was also a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award, presented to the college baseball player of the year.

This past summer, Brooks Lee was a member of USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team. He hit .306 with a home run and four RBIs during the 11-game Team USA intrasquad series. He also competed against the U.S. Olympic Team, where he went 3-for-10 with a home run.

This season, Brooks Lee has been named a preseason All-American by all five major organizations: Collegiate Baseball News, Baseball America, D1Baseball, Perfect Game and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA). The NCBWA placed him on their second team, but the other four all named Brooks Lee a first-team honoree.

However, amidst all the accolades, Brooks Lee said he is focused on one thing: Cal Poly’s success.

“We want to get a good position in conference to have a high chance of making a regional,” he said. “That’s the ultimate goal and going forward, whatever happens, happens, but it’s more team-oriented than anything.”

On the mound, Thorpe is currently listed as the 95th overall player in the 2022 MLB Draft by MLB Pipeline. 

“I’ll look forward to that in July, after the College World Series, and hopefully we’re ending our season there,” Thorpe said about the draft. 

Thorpe began his Cal Poly career as the Sunday starter during his true freshman season in 2020. After outings against Vanderbilt and BYU, he began to make a name for himself.

In 2021, Thorpe became the Mustangs’ Friday night starter, posting a 6-6 record with a 3.79 ERA. He led the team with 104 strikeouts over 90 1/3 innings, which ranked third in the Big West in strikeouts and second in innings. 

Thorpe joined Brooks Lee as a member of the USA Collegiate National Team. He had a record of 1-1 and struck out 11 batters over eight innings of work. In addition, Thorpe has been named a preseason All-American by Baseball America and D1Baseball.

This year, Thorpe will lead the Cal Poly pitching staff once again as their Friday night starter for the second consecutive season. With two years under his belt in the rotation, Thorpe said he is looking to step into a leadership role within the pitching staff, emphasizing the need to work as a collective unit and not as individuals.

“I feel like it’s kind of been my job this year to take over the pitching staff and make sure that we’re all wanting the same thing and moving in the right direction,” Thorpe said.

Brooks Lee and Thorpe are primed to lead Cal Poly to the postseason this year. The two emphasized the importance of winning 40 games this season, which should put them in the running to make an NCAA Regional.

“What’s most important to them is winning and they know that if we win as a team, then their accolades will come,” Larry Lee said.

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