As I mentioned yesterday, The Wife and I are recapturing our youth with a stay in our old college town, which has already been a lot of fun. I have to point out, though, that we are clearly staying in the hotel from ‘The Shining’:

Ok, so we’re not actually in Colorado, but, man … the resemblance is eery. Slap up a little dated wallpaper, and BAM, it’s “come play with us, Danny … forever … and ever … and ever ….” Back to your regularly scheduled Bullets …

  • John Sickels does another thorough look at Junior Lake, who, since last year’s AFL dominance, has emerged as one of the toughest-to-peg prospects in baseball, with some folks drooling on the tools, and other slamming the lack of polish/consistency. Is he a future big leaguer? Is he going to flame out? Where is he going to play? Sickels’ conclusion pretty much sums things up: “Lake is a classic tools player who may, or may not, figure out how to use them on the field more consistently. He shows flashes, and is still young enough to progress a great deal, but the track record of similar talents isn’t encouraging.” Seems like that remains the most fair place to land on Lake: ridiculous physical specimen, not sure it will ever be translated to baseball ability at the big league level. Since he’s already occupying a 40-man roster spot, the Cubs are likely to have to find out what they have in him sooner rather than later. Indeed, if we don’t see him in the bigs at some point in 2013 (assuming next year is, like this one has been, all about checking out the youngsters), he might never make it with the Cubs.
  • By the way, and in a keeping-on-the-lights kind of thing: if you want to bet on NFL football and more, check out Bovada. How about that? I got through a football mention without even discussing my fantasy football teams (each of which ended up winning last week after a scoring change on the Detroit defense!).
  • We could hear official word on the Cubs’ Low-A and High-A affiliation decisions as soon as tomorrow, the first date on which teams can publicly discuss changes. Presently, the Cubs are expected to re-up with Daytona in High-A, and move on from Peoria to Kane County in Low-A. The Daytona one is interesting, if only because renewals were possible earlier this week (we saw the Cubs renew with Boise). If the Cubs were going to renew with Daytona, might they have done so already? But if they aren’t, wouldn’t we have heard at least a whisper of dissatisfaction? Perhaps the Cubs are just waiting for the open period so they can squeeze a slightly better deal out of Daytona. We might know tomorrow.
  • 2012 first round pick Albert Almora got the Wrigley Field treatment yesterday, taking batting practice with the team, meeting folks, touring the stadium, etc. Almora had excellent things to say about his trip, and seemed genuinely overwhelmed by the experience. Big-time Cuban signee Jorge Soler will get the same treatment today.
  • Starlin Castro is starting to make pitcher-by-pitcher adjustments in his plate approach, including ditching his high leg kick against “nasty” pitchers because he doesn’t want to be late on their stuff. He credits the dropped leg kick with his homer yesterday off of Jared Hughes, but noted that he doesn’t plan on dropping it altogether. “I’ve been doing my leg kick all my life,” he said, per Carrie Muskat. “I got 200 hits last year with the leg kick. I know it can work but I don’t want to be thinking too much.” Baby steps.
  • Anthony Rizzo and Brett Jackson both returned to the starting lineup yesterday, each noting that they felt sore, but not “injured.” The Cubs really caught a couple breaks on those ugly collisions – not because winning right now is of critical importance, but because the development time (and a healthy offseason) IS of critical importance.
  • Theo Epstein spoke to the media yesterday, and his thoughts will get its own post, but, in the interim, you can surmise the gist: no shortcuts, tough season, could be more tough seasons ahead.


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