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Three Mustang Major League Draftees Sign Professional Contracts

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Three of Cal Poly’s four selections in the 2022 Major League Baseball Draft have signed professional contracts.

short stop Brooks-Leethe eighth overall selection by the Minnesota Twins last week, signed for $5.675 million, slightly above the slot pick value of $5,439,500.

Second round pick Drew Thorpe agreed to a full slot-value deal of $1,187 million with the New York Yankees on Sunday while Jason Franks, also a pitcher and an eighth-round choice of the Atlanta Braves, signed for $2,500. The pick value for Franks, who exhausted his eligibility at Cal Poly last spring, was $176,400.

A third Mustang pitcher, Derek Truedrafted in the final round by the Oakland Athletics, remains unsigned.

Lee was ranked as the second-best overall prospect entering the 2022 draft by Baseball America and the fifth best by MLB.com. Lee, 21, is the highest overall pick out of Cal Poly as well as the fourth player from the school taken in the first round (including supplemental picks).

His father, Larry Lee, is the head baseball coach at Cal Poly and played one season of professional baseball in 1983 with the Utica Blue Sox of the New York-Penn League. Two of Brooks’ uncles, Terry Lee and Mike Lee, also played in the minors; Terry was a first-round selection (19th overall) by the San Francisco Giants in 1974 out of San Luis Obispo High School, while Mike spent 1974-75 in the Giants’ system. Brooks is also named after Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson.

Lee will report to Lee County Sports Complex in Fort Myers, Florida.

Lee earned five All-America awards since the 2022 season ended, including first-team nods from Collegiate Baseball and the American Baseball Coaches Association. He was a first-team pick on two of the six All-American teams in 2021 as well.

Named winner of the Brooks Wallace Award as the nation’s top collegiate shortstop last month, Brooks hit .357 in his second full season at Cal Poly with 25 doubles, 15 home runs and 55 RBIs. He led the Big West in hits, walks, doubles, home runs, runs scored, RBIs, slugging percentage and total bases and was second in batting average and on-base percentage.

Fifth in the nation in doubles, Lee produced hitting streaks of 19 and 12 games in 2022 and led the Mustangs with 26 multiple-hit games and 16 multiple-RBI contests, becoming only the second player in Big West history to earn the conference’s field player of the year award twice. Mark Kotsay accomplished the same feat in 1995 and 1996.

Brooks, who missed nearly all of the pandemic-shortened 2020 season following knee and hamstring surgeries, earned 2021 co-Big West Player of the Year honors by hitting .342 with 10 home runs, 57 RBIs and a school-record 27 doubles. He further solidified his bona fides as one of the top college bats in the class by hitting very well both for Team USA and in the Cape Cod League last summer.

Thorpe struck out 284 batters over 223 innings in his first three Mustang seasons, reaching double digits in strikeouts 13 times, including a record-tying school Division I mark with 15 strikeouts against UC San Diego last March. His 284 career strikeouts is No. 4 in the school record book.

Thorpe finished his third season at Cal Poly second in the nation with 149 strikeouts, third in hits allowed per nine innings (5.59), sixth in WHIP (0.86), 10th in wins (10). He 13th in strikeouts per nine innings (12.81), 17th with his 2.32 ERA and 24th in strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.96).

Drew was named to all six All-America first teams this spring, becoming the first Mustang to accomplish the feat. He also played in the Cape Cod League and for Team USA last summer and also was a semifinalist for both the Dick Howser Trophy and Golden Spikes Award.

Franks earned 11 saves in 2022, the most by a Cal Poly pitcher in five years. I have compiled a 4-2 win-loss record and 3.17 ERA.

Franks, who played on Cal Poly’s club baseball team as a freshman and sophomore before working his way onto the intercollegiate roster prior to the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, pitched in just five games, a total of 4 2/3 innings, in 2020 and 2021 combined before blossoming into one of the conference’s elite closers in 2022.

Franks struck out 69 batters over 54 innings for an 11.50 strikeouts-per-nine-innings figure, walked just 22 and held foes to a .228 batting average. He also earned four victories against Fresno State, UNLV, UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton.

Read a story on Franks’ remarkable climb from an all-league honorable mention in high school to a draftee and signee with the Atlanta Braves here.

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