Brooks Lee can already see it. An infield with him, Carlos Correa and Royce Lewis.
Even if only one would be manning their preferred position, shortstop.
"That sounds pretty good to me. That sounds like an infield that can hit and play defense," Lee said Saturday at TwinsFest. "Wherever they put me, Royce and I, we're both really eager to get back on the field. Whenever that happens, hopefully we line up at the major league level, and I can get pushed in there. Hopefully we're all playing together."
Seeing the trio side by side at Target Field, though, wasn't the natural thought many had upon hearing Correa would unexpectedly return the Twins for at least six — and possibly as many as 10 — more years. If anything, there was concern about how the Twins would find space for three former first-round shortstops on the active roster in coming years.
But in talking to the three, none seems to be agonizing about that just yet. In fact, there's more excitement than anything.
For 28-year-old Correa, he has an opportunity to mentor and teach two up-and-coming players, a luxury he has said he didn't always get as a young Astros player. The 21-year-old Lee and 23-year-old Lewis have a chance for hands-on help from a World Series and Gold Glove winner who's also a two-time All-Star.
Jeremy Pena, Correa's heir at shortstop when he left Houston for the Twins ahead of last season, credited Correa for his guidance and giving him the confidence to take on the role. Pena went on to win the World Series, become the MVP of both the ALCS and World Series, and win a Gold Glove ahead of his mentor.
Correa said he's similarly looking forward to investing in Lee and Lewis.
"When these guys come up to the big leagues, it helps. Eventually if they become superstars, it's just going to make us better," Correa said. "We draft based on talent, not positions, and their talent is good enough to play anywhere in the infield or the outfield. That excites me.
"The talent they bring to the table, the bats they're going to bring, the stability in the lineup once they're established on a big-league roster, it's going to help us build what we want to build, which is a dynasty that's going to show up every single year in the playoffs and help us win a World Series."
Top picks paying off
Lee and Lewis seem well on their way in that aspect.
Lee was the No. 8 pick in the 2022 draft and ascended to Class AA Wichita in just half a summer of minor league ball. He hit .303 with 15 RBI and four home runs in his 31 games.
Lewis went No. 1 in the 2017 draft — just as Correa did in 2012 — and made his major league debut last season when Correa briefly went on the injured list in May. That was a feat, as Lewis didn't play in 2020 because the pandemic canceled minor league games. Then he tore his ACL in early 2021 and missed the entire year.
In his first 11 games with the Twins last season, Lewis hit .308 with five RBI and two homers. The Twins sent him down to gain experience in center field so they could recall him and play him in the outfield with Byron Buxton dealing with a knee injury. But in his first game upon returning at the end of May, he collided with the outfield wall and reinjured his knee; another surgery will keep him out until at least midseason.
Now seven months into his recovery, Lewis started hitting again three weeks ago and is doing straight-line running.
Three for the show
Lewis is relentlessly positive about his recovery and pretty much all aspects of life, so Correa's new contract didn't seem to faze him either. He did say President of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey and General Manager Thad Levine called him when Correa re-signed to make sure he knew they still valued him within the organization.
"I was just really excited that he's back because, I mean, the mentorship I got last year was so awesome. And then for me to get hurt and lose that, it really broke my heart," Lewis said. "This is my favorite player, and someone that's taught me so much in the two months that I was able to be with him. And I was just excited to get more time with him, so I was glad he signed."
While Correa, Lee and Lewis would all probably like to stay shortstops for life — maybe particularly the younger ones when it comes to the prospective money to be made in free agency — they all have the athleticism to play elsewhere. Correa was willing to play third base if his deal with the Mets had come to fruition. And while Lewis said it's likely "safer" for him to play in the dirt, he would basically play anywhere that wasn't pitcher or catcher in order to establish himself in MLB.
And there's a benefit to the trio of Twins together that's beyond baseball.
"I tell people like, 'Dude, this is my friend,'" Lewis said. "To have your friend with you still is awesome."