Why is Brooks Lee Still Wearing No. 72?

Brooks Lee, Minnesota Twins
Matt Blewett-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Twins newly debuted rookie infielder, Brooks Lee, has had the hottest start to his MLB career of any Twin since… Royce Lewis. Sure, that isn’t that long ago, but those who know how good the latter has been through the first 75 games of his big league career, then you know how impressive that is.

But let’s take a look at the numbers anyway. Brooks Lee made his MN Twins debut on July 7. In the five Major League games he has played so far, the 23-year-old Cal Poly alum is 9-for-19 (.474), with 1 HR, 6 RBI. His OPS is 1.160, his early OPS+ is 225 and he’s been incredibly impressive defensively at 3rd base.

Brooks Lee is probably up with the Minnesota Twins for good

Unless something goes very very very south, between now and the All-Star break, it’s going to be impossible to send Brooks Lee back down to the minors when Royce Lewis returns from the injured list. Lee has never been a streaky or up-and-down player. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if he never plays in the minors again.

So… it’s about time to get this kid a real number, right? MLB prospects are assigned random numbers, early on in their career, when they first start playing big league games in spring training. For Brooks Lee, that number was, and still is, No. 72. Now that he has arrived and appears here to stay, can we expect a new number, possibly even this season?

Well, during the Twins vs Astros broadcast on Sunday, we found out, via Bally Sports North on-field reporter Audra Martin, what number Lee would like to have. It’s No. 22, the same number he wore in college and throughout his childhood.

Number 22 is very important to Brooks Lee and his dad

How much does the number 22 mean to Brooks and his father? It is his dad, Larry Lee’s favorite number, and thus became his too. For those who don’t know, Larry Lee coached Brooks at Cal Poly. According to , both Lees wore 22 for the Mustangs, while Brooks played there.

“[Brooks Lee] prefers to wear number 22. That is also his dad Larry’s number, at Cal Poly where he is the head coach. And when Brooks was playing there, Larry got permission to wear a jacket over his uniform so they could both be number 22.”

Audra Martin on Brooks Lee wanting No. 22 (Bally Sports North)

The number 22 was important enough to both Brooks and Larry that the latter applied for and received special permission from the NCAA to wear it, as long as he agreed to always wear a jacket over his uniform during games.

But there’s one Griffen Jax sized problem…

Cool story, right? But there’s an obvious problem. Minnesota Twins top reliever, Griffen Jax, already has that number and he’s worn it for FOUR seasons, now. Audra told BSN play-by-play broadcaster Cory Provus and analyst Glen Perkins that Brooks hopes he can “fenagle” 22 away from Jax, this offseason, something Perkins (a former Twins and Gophers pitcher) scoffs at.

Martin: “I asked him about [Griffen Jax already having that number], ‘did you think about trying to fenagle your way into No. 22?’. He said, ‘Absolutely, maybe when I earn a little more clout around here, I will give it a shot.'”

Provus: “And so Perk, how would that play out? Jax has been in the big leagues obviously longer than Lee.”

Perkins: “Off limits. [Lee] needs about 10 more years and 5000 more plate appearances to take a number. He’s a little short right now.”

Bally Sports North Twins vs Astros broadcast (July 7)

Does this mean that Brooks Lee will wear No. 72 forever? Probably not, but it’s certainly possible we see more than one number change during his Minnesota Twins career. That may not be welcomed news for those impatiently waiting to buy a Brooks Lee jersey..

Related: Minnesota Twins Still Hope to Offer Blackout-Free Standalone Streaming Package This Season

Of course, there are always ways for professional athletes to buy the numbers they want from teammates. Could that be in play, here? If so, Brooks should start saving his rookie pay checks up now. It’s pretty clear that Griffen Jax isn’t just going to give his number away.

At least for the foreseeable future (definitely the rest of this season), it looks like the Twins youngest new star will be stuck wearing No. 72.

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