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junior lake cubsThe curse of the Cubs center fielder has claimed Brian Bogusevic’s hamstring, which had been been giving him trouble on and off for the better part of a couple weeks. It looks like he’s going to have to head to the disabled list now, but his pain is Junior Lake’s gain.

The enigmatic – and that’s not just a cliche in this instance – Cubs prospect is expected to be called up to take Bogusevic’s place on the 25-man roster, and will probably play a bit in the corner outfield spots and a bit at third base, as he has been at AAA Iowa. Slowed by a broken rib early, Lake has hit .295/.341/.462 so far in his AAA debut (40 games). Helping his call-up cause is the MASH unit in the outfield for the Cubs (which includes Brett Jackson), the trade of Scott Hairston, and the fact that Lake has already been on the 40-man roster for a couple seasons now (as in, he’s already using his second option year). When you look at the 40-man, if it wasn’t going to be Matt Szczur, and if it wasn’t going to be a new addition to the 40-man, Lake was pretty much it.

Lake is 23, and, although he’s not necessarily viewed as a long-term starter at any position, he can reasonably be viewed as a long-term piece for the Cubs if he can play passably at a wide variety of positions. His bat is good enough for that role (and could be even better with some consistency), and I have a feeling that fans are going to like the athleticism they see.

As for Bogusevic, he last played on July 14 – to which this DL stint can be backdated – and will be eligible to come off of the disabled list on July 29. At that time, the Cubs’ roster could look very different than it does today, and Bogusevic could be needed once again. That roster turnover could also lead to Lake staying up with the big club for the rest of the year, even if he presently looks like a mere injury fill-in. Then again, that’s right around the time that David DeJesus could come off of the DL as well. Lake can be freely optioned up and down from Iowa, so we’ll have to see what happens.

Either way, it will be exciting to see him in the lineup. It’s hard to say whether he’ll get regular work over the next couple of weeks, or if the call-up is as much about giving him a taste of the bigs and the big league coaching staff as it is about ensuring he plays every day (which could be tough to pull off with Soriano-Schierholtz-Valbuena pretty much locking down the corner outfield spots and third base against righties). Julio Borbon figures to become a mainstay in center field for now.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Lake’s splits at Iowa say he hits righties as well or better than lefties. I say play him everyday.

    • Drew7

      Lake’s splits at Iowa say, “he’s only played in 40 games, so his splits don’t mean much.”

  • North Side Irish

    I can’t wait to see his arm…legit 80 grade…one of the best in the minors.

    • DarthHater

      Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome your new closer: Junior Lake!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      That arm is insane. I sat behind first base for a game in Tennessee where Lake was playing short. Let’s just say I’m glad he didn’t sail any over Bour’s head. His casual side arm tosses have more heat on them than some fastball I’ve seen.

  • Eric

    Here’s hoping this is more than a cup of joe..

  • mudge

    exciting…I think.

  • Seth

    I’ll be at the game on Saturday at Coors. I really hope to see him get an AB.

  • cubchymyst

    So the Cubs finally have 2 back up infielder’s on the roster. I was starting to think they go the whole season with 6 outfielders.

    • hansman1982

      6 IF and 6 OF now. Biggest point in Lake’s favor.

  • Austin

    I was gonna ask if Lake or Shierholtz could play CF but it looks like you pretty much answered that by not mentioning it. But then again with the rumor of Shierholtz being traded soon because of his 2 days of extra rest maybe the situation works itself out.

    • CubFan Paul

      Bourbon shouldn’t stop Lake from starting in CF everyday.

      • hansman1982

        Considering Lake has played all of 6 games in the OF, I think Bourbon should.

        • Ballrock20

          Ya, especially since Borbon is batting .198…

          • Jp3

            What ever will we do with almora coming up if Bourbon is still here blocking him?

            • Ballrock20

              We will have to trade Almoravid because Borbon is a stud.

              I realize he is only 27 with speed, but doesn’t do much for me. I would rather see what Sappelt can do.

        • CubFan Paul

          .196/.288/.272

        • cubzfan

          Lake would be fine in center. He’s practiced there, played there a bit in Arizona, and over the winter. Borbon isn’t anything to write home about on defense.

      • PRcajun

        He’s Dominican…so probably more of a rum guy, If I had to guess.

      • Austin

        I wasn’t talking about him being blocked more to his ability in CF. I’ve never seen him play or run so I wasn’t sure if he would have the speed to cover CF or not. (Or the baseball IQ).

        • Jp3

          I don’t think it’ll matter, I would bet Valbuena or Barney is getting shipped out with garza before tomorrow night’s game…

        • Mr. B. Patient

          Lake’s speed is good, baseball IQ is his biggest problem.

          We could use someone we don’t expect, like a Lake or a Watson, or someone else, to come up and become a great player, sorta like it happens every year with the Cardinals. David Freese. WS MVP. Really.

  • Cubes

    More excited about Lake than I was about Jackson & Vitters last year…

  • demz

    I hope Lake gets a chance to play everyday while he is up here.

    • willis

      I do too. Giving him the Vitters treatment is not a good idea here. He’s got so much ability so let him show it off.

  • mudge

    Will they bring up Raley or will Russell pitch every day till his arm falls off?

  • Crockett

    Get to see his debut. Hope he starts.

  • iowacubs

    Alrightttttt….another young player for Sveum to ruin!

    • willis

      LOL, good point.

    • hansman1982

      Wow, only took 15 minutes after this was posted for the “BLAME DALE SVEUM FOR RUINING JUNIOR LAKE” to start.

      • DarthHater

        Yea, folks are getting slow.

      • DARRRRRR

        There’s a reason for that

  • Funn Dave

    I emitted a very effeminate squeal of excitement upon reading that headline. Get pumped for some Lake!

    • DarthHater

      I guess now we know why you are so much funn.

      • hansman1982

        the second N stands for Nancy

  • bbmoney

    Not to go all diehardian, but with Barney’s name coming up in trade rumors……if he gets moved Valbuena plays some 2b also opening up up some 3b time?

    Just a thought. Odd to bring him up if he leant play a lot. Unless they re down enough on him that thy figure it doesn’t matter. Or I guess they just had no better options on th 40 man

    • Jp3

      Yeah that’s not so much die hardian as much as it is of thinking ahead… I just don’t think they bring lake up with nowhere to play him… He needs at bats more than anything.

      • turn two

        They pulled up vitters to sit him and i still think this team needs barneys example of professionalism when the older guys get traded.

      • Die hard

        Castro to OF and Lake to SS

        • Cubes

          Castro to AAA Lake to SS

        • Jeff K

          That would be brilliant…

        • Jed Jam Band

          Hell, for once, I actually find some die hard is saying to be plausible. I mean, not this season, but in the future, Castro could be a CF. That being said, definitely won’t happen right now because Castro is still our best option at SS. Lake’s been playing mostly third, so that’s right out.

          • Mr. B. Patient

            Castro > Lake at SS

            Lake > Castro in Center.

            This won’t happen. Ever.

            • Jed Jam Band

              Oh, I agree with you. I’m just saying that, hypothetically, this is possible. Also, we’re making too many assumptions about both players and their futures. I’m most interested to see if Castro can capitalize on his brilliant start to the month of July and keep that momentum going. He was hitting .313/.365/.479 in 12 games this month before the ASB. SSS for sure, but it’s encouraging.

  • Stogie

    Finally something to applaud.

  • Jason P

    For all Lake’s inconsistcies, he’s produced at every level he’s been at. I wish he could play centercenter, but a Soriano-Lake-Schierholtz outfield might be hard to watch defensively.

    • Cheese Chad

      How about a Lake, DeJesus, Bogusevic outfield…….

  • Jp3

    I think we’ll know the answer to the “where will lake get his startsfrom” after the Garza trade… I’d like to think the FO had this figured out before they pulled the Lake trigger. They know he needs to develop and have said as much and know he won’t be riding the pine.

    • Jed Jam Band

      Assman told us to be on the lookout for stuff involving Barney. Could be that Barney is getting moved and that Lake could be slotting in at 3rd with Valbuena moving over to 2nd and Watkins getting his shot to be the utility man he’s destined to be.

      • Jp3

        Yeah, I refuse to believe they came in today with all that’s going on and said what the hell…

      • Jeff K

        Maybe. However, I’d be more comfortable with Valbuena at 3rd and Lake at 2nd. Yeah he has a great arm, which would be nice at 3rd, but Valbuena is probably a far superior defender there.

        • Jp3

          yeah but this is our plan to climb back in the top 3 for losses😀

          • Jeff K

            Yeah, I forgot…my bad.

        • Jed Jam Band

          That’s possible, but I really doubt they would want to minimize the potential of Lake’s arm. He’s got more potential than Valbuena and I doubt a temporary loss of superficial defensive value is going to kill this team. We’re in this for the long haul and for now, I believe that means letting Lake’s most killer asset shine.

          • Jeff K

            Valid point.

            • Jed Jam Band

              Why I love BN: It’s the one place on the Internet I can have a reasonable, logical argument with people of widely varying viewpoints.

              • Jeff K

                Agreed. It’s the only blog of its type that I pay any real attention to.

              • MichiganGoat

                YOUR WRONG GET OFF OUR PORCH ;)

  • Paul AssenmachWAR

    A good week and we can flip Lake for Martin Perez, whatcha think!1?!

    /ducks

    • Headscratchin

      Interesting possibility. I really doubt they would bring him up to showcase for a trade though.

    • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

      Depending on who goes along with Garza – I think that might be the kicker, who wins the bidding war with what they offer for prospects – then Lake is not so much showcased, as being the guy who has to fill in at 2B or 3B, SS, or Corner OF. Luckily, through the Cubs system, the guys had experience in all of them.

  • DocPeterWimsey

    People go on and on about “athleticism” but a lot of great position players and pitchers are (or were) not particularly good athletes, and a lot of great athletes had absolutely no baseball skills. Lake looks a lot like he fits the former category.

    • Drew7

      “Lake looks a lot like he fits the (latter) category.”

      FTFY

      • DocPeter Wimsey

        Robot needs reboot….

    • Bill

      I’m not sure I agree with the first part of your first sentence, definitely agree with the 2nd half. I guess the good athlete remark is relative. Unless you are a Matt Garza, I’d say most major league players (especially position players) are good athletes. Great athletes? Maybe not, but good, yes.

      • Cubes

        mayhaps you could call them Professional Athletes…

    • Mr. B. Patient

      Can we clarify the last sentence? Lake will probably not be a good pro, but looking at his minor league stats, it seems a bit unfair to say he has NO baseball skills. I think his problem is more baseball acumen, or lack there of.

  • Oswego chris

    Just check out CJ Edwards from Rangers…I want him…him and Olt

  • jt

    Edwards: 6’2″ 155 lb
    Somebody cook that man a meal.
    Seems to miss a lot of bats though.

  • jake w

    Lake could eventually be a good outfielder. Any pro player should be able to play outfield. It is not that hard.

    • Jed Jam Band

      I’m gonna quote Ron Washington here: “It’s incredibly hard.”

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Indeed: judging flyballs is extremely tough to do. Indeed, some guys who can do it well on the corners cannot do it in CF and vice-versa. A lot of converted infielders are hopeless at it, at least for a while.

      • Austin

        Great movie right there. That scene was well done too IMO.

    • arta

      anyone can play the OF, but can they play it good? Dunn, Soriano, etc.

  • Mak

    Doesn’t this kind of indicate that the FO doesn’t have high hopes for Lake? He’s only got 40 games above AA and his approach hasn’t really improved. I expect (and I think to some extent, the FO expects) Lake to fall flat on his face. But we need a body and he’s on the 40 man, so the hands a pretty much tied. Boy this turned out to be awfully negative. I guess I’m excited to see his arm?

    • Jed Jam Band

      I’m not certain about that. I think they feel he’s really a toss-up. He could be great, but he could also be terrible. Yes, I think injuries necessitated this move, but he was going to be up at some point one way or the other. They may not love him, but no front office EVER wants to see a highly-regarded prospect fall flat on their face. The only way to build up value is to perform at a high level. Even if they don’t love Lake, they want to see him succeed, thus building up trade value. Or, if he pans out as a utility man, then he becomes invaluable to the next competitive team.

      • Mak

        Who said anything about wanting them to fail? I just think that if they really liked him as a prospect, he wouldn’t be up.

        • Jed Jam Band

          “I expect (and I think to some extent, the FO expects) Lake to fall flat on his face”

          So you didn’t use the word “fail,” but to suggest the FO is doing something they feel is not in his best interests is kinda silly. He’s still a highly-regarded prospect, which is exactly WHY he’s coming up now. They had other options at AAA, most notably being Logan Watkins, but they’re bringing up Lake. That shows they believe he has potential.

    • Cubes

      I disagree strongly

  • Jon

    AAA 3B is now open for Olt

  • arta

    40 or 140 games, he’s here, play him!

  • Mike

    Congrats to Lake for making it to the show. If he can hit, he’ll have a place on this team and we’ll all love him. Best wishes kid!

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