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nobody f's with david dejesus cubsIf you only check in on weekdays, make sure you don’t miss Luke’s piece yesterday on the “prospect fog” associated with trade rumor season. It’s a good one. And, in case you missed it, the Cubs will reportedly finally sign Eloy Jimenez just after the Trade Deadline. Oh, and, yes, there were more Matt Garza updates here and here.

  • The roster could get a boost later this week, as David DeJesus continues to rehab his shoulder injury. He’s playing games with the rookie team in Mesa right now, but Carrie Muskat says he could be activated from the DL later this week. If that were going to happen, I would expect DeJesus to head out to an upper level minor league team soon for a short rehab stint this week. Although the odds he’s moved have dropped dramatically because of the injury, I would imagine the Cubs would like to see DeJesus back in action at least a few days before the July 31 Trade Deadline. He’s got a reasonable option for 2014 ($6.5 million), and he’s a great veteran presence on the team, so there’s no urgency to trade DeJesus. But it’s nice to have options.
  • After his four-hit day yesterday, Starlin Castro’s batting average is up to .247, which doesn’t sound like much. But it hasn’t been that high since June 8. Since that day off late last month in Milwaukee, Castro is hitting .311/.347/.478.
  • Brett Jackson is still rehabbing in Arizona, and he’s staying positive about what has been a very disappointing season, both in injuries and performance. He had been dealing with turf toe, and then a subsequent calf problem, for quite some time. To recover, he had to be off his feet for a while, and now he’s got to get back into baseball shape. The injuries were obviously incredibly ill-timed for Jackson, given the Cubs’ rotating center field.
  • Dale Sveum says there’s a chance we’ll see Jake Arrieta, acquired in the Scott Feldman deal, make his Cubs debut on July 30 as part of the doubleheader that day. The Cubs will need a fill-in, and the team can call up a guy for just that one day. Arrieta is already on the 40-man, so he makes as much sense as anyone as long as the momentary call-up doesn’t too dramatically impact the Cubs’ service time considerations.
  • I’m not sure Junior Lake could have more perfectly lived into his reputation in his first three games with the big club: incredible athleticism, spurts of all-world play, and then head-shaking mistakes and ugly strikeouts. On the balance, you just hope the good outweighs the bad – because he’s fun, man.
  • Speaking of Lake, he’s John Sickels’ prospect of the day, which means he gets a long write-up. The short version comes in Sickels’ conclusion: “If you told me that Lake will be an All-Star four years from now, I’d believe it. If you told me he would be flailing at breaking pitches in Triple-A four years from now, I’d believe that too.”
  • Len Kasper on the lingering steroid issue.
  • If you haven’t watched the video of Ernie Banks joining Eddie Vedder on stage on Friday, you should. It might give you goosebumps.
  • MichiganGoat

    Does anyone have video of Lake’s throwing error yesterday? I missed it and want to see just how powerful of an arm he has.

    • MaxM1908
      • MichiganGoat

        Thx… wow that really wasn’t even close yikes

        • hansman1982

          Had the throw been on target, the runner would have been out by yards.

          • Satch Dobrey

            And if ifs were skiffs we’d all go boat riding…

        • Kevin

          High and outside, just missed the press box.

          • hansman1982

            Juuuuuuuuuust a bit outside:

            [img]http://www.mediaspy.org/report/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/just_a_bit_outside.jpg[/img]

          • Jp3

            I remember candy Maldonado throwing it damn near over the screen from left field with his so called cannon with one of his 1st games with the cubs… Yikes

        • ssckelley

          They better check that backstop wall for a crack.

      • ssckelley

        Wow, with an arm like that he might be able to throw someone out at the plate from the centerfield wall.

  • Oswego Chris

    Lake’s natural position is SS right?…but he can play 3B, and 2B…I hope when DeJesus gets back they play Lake somewhere else…asking a guy to adjust to Center at the big league level…kinda tough…how about that arm in Right…but that would be a struggle too…Left would probably be best…

    • mdavis

      i think when DeJesus is back Lake will be back in AAA. this is just a quick cup.

    • Justin

      Good point. It seems like a lot to throw a guy out in Center for the first time in the Bigs. Anyone know how Lake has looked defensively at 3rd? I would imagine he was an absolute maniac/erratic at shortstop..

      • MichiganGoat

        Luke has talked about how inconsistent he is both defensively and offensively. He is still young and if he does have an 80 arm then an outfield position would be the best fit, but his MLB future appears to be as a super-sub but he has to be consistent defensively if he has any chance of being successful.

        • Oswego Chris

          Yeah…there are a lot of guys who could play all over the diamond and do it poorly…with his hitting being so erratic I don’t think he will be the type of guy who you should be moving all over the field…here is a real Captain Obvious statement-learning to hit at the big league level is very tough, and I would like to see him only have to focus on that…if LF was open, I think that would be optimal…

          • mdavis

            right. an 80 arm doesnt mean much if you can’t harness it.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Shouldn’t an “80” arm include accuracy and quickness as well as raw strength? It seems to me that too often these “20…80″ scores look at only one component and ignore other independent ones that are equally as important.

              (Yes, accuracy can improve: but we all know that some people are just naturally good at it whereas others are not; ditto that for quickness.)

              • On The Farm

                Isn’t it more of an 80 (potential arm) so right now, for an example, you could say he has a 50 arm, but he is not done developing so its 50/80? But it is still considered an 80 tool because the potential is there.

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  Right, but this scale was devised by the same people who thought that batting eye was something players could learn. Now, a guy can improve accuracy and quickness: but as we have all seen, it is rare that guys really improve upon these things. They should be treated as basic tools, and a guy who shows poor accuracy and/or quickness early should not be considered a “potential” 80 arm no matter how hard he can throw it.

                  (Better yet: just do away with the misleading 20…80 system and score score arm strength, throwing accuracy and throwing quickness separately; you might even add “acrobatic” throwing because that’s probably a skill apart from the others.)

                  • On The Farm

                    While I agree there are things you can’t teach a guy, in this particualr senario I would lean toward the other way. I don’t have the exact numbers in front of me, but I know Lake hasn’t played a lot of games in the OF in the minors, and I am not sure if he has ever been in CF. I think part of it is jitters, and not having that comfort of playing a familar position. I am not sure how many games he has even played at 3B. It just seems like they were just moving him from SS to a new position and then they decided he should learn another new position. You can’t teach a person to throw really far really good, but you can give them enough repetitions to get comfortable and hope that solves it.

                    I might be arguing a losing battle here.

              • Edwin

                I think the scale is meant to be more of a measure of physical tools, not neccessarily technical tools. I think knowing what kind of phsyical tools a player has can be very nice to know.

                John Arguello wrote a fantastic post about Tools and Junior Lake at Cubs Den, I thought it was a great read:

                http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2013/07/why-tools-and-mental-makeup-still-matter-thoughts-on-junior-lake-and-other-cubs-prospects/

        • Justin

          Yeah I have heard the super sub thing with Lake, but I always thought the best super sub type guys were consistant and reliable dudes. Players, you know what they are going to bring to the table when they play. Lake seems like the anti-utility player. I agee Oswego that putting him at one position and have become great at that would seem to make sense if his bat can stick.. 3rd base??

          • MichiganGoat

            They are that’s the problem Junior is going to have, if he can’t be a consistent fielder he will have to be a super bat. But if he can play 4+ positions consistently and keep a OPS above .700 he could have a career.

  • DReese

    That is not a bad line for Castro. I like the SLG but the OBP is a little low, but with Castro you will get a high average. I guess as long as the average stays high and the SLG stays up, this is a good change by the FO.

    • Kevin

      Casto coming around, good to see after committing $70M. We need Rizzo to get out of his sophomore slump and turn things around. I sure hope he’s not the 2nd coming of Soto.

      • Tommy

        Look more into the numbers, I wouldn’t exactly call Rizzo slumping. OBP 10 points lower than last year, Slugging 14 points lower, all probably due to the fact that his BABIP is is 40 points lower than last year at only .270. He’s currently on pace for almost 25 homers and almost 50 doubles. His walk rate is up while his strikeout rate is only slightly up. I would actually say despite the lower average that he is having a very good season

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Indeed, we could make the case that Rizzo has improved from last year. His walk rate and extra-base hit rates have gone up while his K-rate has remained the same. So, he’s showing better selection and hitting the ball hard more frequently while not sacrificing contact.

      • hansman1982

        Soto was criminally underrated. Consistently provided above-average offense and acceptable defense. I have a feeling Rizzo is going to fall in the criminally underrated category as well.

        • MichiganGoat

          its that baseball card stat BA that makes everyone think he isn’t doing well. Everything else he doing close to what he did last year. He’s approaching 800 PA as a Cub and his OPS+ is above 110 and in those 800 PA he’s been worth 4+ bWAR. So yeah he’s doing just fine.

          • hansman1982

            Ya, this season is a BABIP varience away from being better than last year.

  • Steve

    After watching Junior Lake play these last three days, I feel like I have a pretty good idea of what it would look like if Hunter Pence got drunk before every game.

    • Jay

      Awesome! :-D We can talk all we want about Jackson’s injuries but whatever changes they made to his swing made no difference since he still makes contact with the ball about as well as Mark Bellhorn did.

  • Jp3

    If he keeps playing in CF he’ll def be a key reason we get a higher pick in the draft next year… You’re right Chris trying to learn a new position in the majors is a tall order for anyone.

    • On The Farm

      Pssh Manny Machado did it, so anyone can do it.

      • Jp3

        Oh jeez, Machado did it from a position he was already a great defender at to a lesser demanding position. He had a great glove to begin with where Lake never had one to start. Asking a guy with a questionable fielding skills to move to the most demanding OF position is a bit much

      • Jp3

        Gotcha on the sarcasm too late… Looks like I need to finish my coffee

        • On The Farm

          Yeah. Everyone seems to think that Lake (and Baez for that matter) can just “learn 3B”, there reference is Machado, a kid who’s value some baseball writers are comparing to Trout and Harper. Not very many people learn a new position on the fly.

          • Jp3

            You’re right, the only other person that made a great switch to that position I’d say without much struggle was ***shudder*** A-Rod. In all fairness he was a SS gold glove contender that just slid over there so thats def not the norm either. Here’s to hoping he can figure out at least one position passably…

            • King Jeff

              Cal Ripken also moved later in his career. Chipper Jones moved early and did pretty well. Jose Iglesias has played a lot of third this year for the Red Sox. Moving from SS to 3b is very commonplace, although it usually happens early in careers, it’s not very accurate to say that only one or two players have been able to do it.

              • Jp3

                So you’re right King Jeff… Hall of Famers do it all the time…. Minus Iglesias… I think you make the point even more obvious. I’m not saying it can’t be done I’m simply saying a guy that was brought up almost strictly as an IF then gets thrown into CF for the 1st time in his career is a bit much.

                • King Jeff

                  Travis Fryman, Gary Sheffield, Vinny Castilla, and Tony Batista. Those are off the top of my head, and none of them were considered great fielding shortstops, and all of them made a fairly successful conversion to third. I’m sure that there is a much longer list if you do a little digging.

                  • Jp3

                    That is quite the list of allstars, Miguel tejada and soriano too but 0 of those guys were asked to go play CF. 0. And fryman won a gold glove so lets not down play his fielding too much. CF is a demanding position and my apologies for specifically mentioning the move from SS to 3B but this situation is significantly harder than that shift

                    • King Jeff

                      I was confused at which switch you guys were referring to, but my point remains that guys switch all the time. I believe Biggio went from 2nd to CF without much experience, and not that he was all that great, but Chone Figgins was primarily a middle infielder who jumped to CF, and moved all around defensively. I think Lake is only in CF until DeJesus returns, then he’s either going back to Iowa or he’s going to move all over the field, and his experience that he’s getting now should be helpful.

                    • Jp3

                      We are def in agreement on that one, I’m with you I don’t think his future as a CF and the minute Dejesus can play again he should be there. All I was saying is that was a tall order we put on a rookie and him in particular he needs a little time at a position in the minors before we along him into a big league stage like that.

                    • On The Farm

                      Another way to look at it is Alfonso Soriano. He’s played a few games at 3B (has about .5 E/App) and when he first got to the Cubs he played CF and it was known that he was not comfortable playing that position so the Cubs moved him to LF. It’s easy to remember the great one’s switching positions and succeeding because they were just that, great. But Soriano just tried moving from LF to CF and he struggled. It really isn’t just for anyone. Lake is a good enough athlete to do it, but it’s a lot to ask of him.

                • King Jeff

                  While it’s probably not fair to ask him to learn a new position on the fly like this, he has played the outfield before, and he has played some center in winter leagues before. He’s proven that he’s capable of filling in at various positions, but he’s also proven that he’s not going to be a great defender at any of them. I see this as the Cubs adding to his versatility, and eventually this is going to pay off.

                  • MichiganGoat

                    Craig Biggo that kid went from C to 2B to OF

                    • Jp3

                      Ha that’s funny goat… 4x gold glove and 3,000 hit guy. Those grow on trees.

              • On The Farm

                Its usually not a good idea to name two HOFers and say that it is still a common thing. Ripken and Jones are two different beasts on their own level. However, you did mention Iglesias and I am curious, I am not sure what sites list it, how many games has he played at 3B in the minors before doing it on the MLB level. The only thing I can find is that he has played 28 games at 3B in the majors, can’t find his MiLB numbers. While 3B is considered less difficult than SS there is still a learning curve and trying to do that and figure out MLB pitching is a very difficult combo.

                • On The Farm

                  Looks like I was late to the party and you two have already said everything that I addressed in my post.

              • OregonCubsFan

                Ryne Sandurg was a minor league ss, started out his first two seasons with the cubs as a 3b, and then became arguably the all time best fielding 2b. But then again, he’s another hall of famed doing that.

                • Jp3

                  Who is ryne sandurg

  • Rcleven

    Carrie Muskat ‏@CarrieMuskat 1m

    David DeJesus 1-for-4 w/double in #Cubs rookie league game Sun nite. 3B Kris Bryant 0-3, 3 Es in pro debut, 1st game in more than a month.

    Shaking off the rust begins.

  • Kevin

    And he’s the #1 prospect in the country.

    • Rcleven

      Bryant did not forget how to hit the ball in a month. I like the fact he struggled in his first game. He’s a competitor and it will only step up his game. Must have been hyped in his pro debut.

      • hansman1982

        Well, after that debut, I’m slotting him after Vitters on the Cubs top-100, until he hits a home-run, then it’ll be back to the top-5.

  • ssckelley

    Has anyone ever tried Lake out on the mound? With an arm like that I would think he could top 100 mph.

    • Edwin

      Probably a little late to go that route.

      • http://Jplgxk AlwaysNextYear

        Not really their have been players who have done it but I see no reason too.

    • On The Farm

      Yeah we just sent down a guy to AAA who could throw 100 mph. I know what you are saying, but a guy who has been known to be inconsistent at both the plate and on the field, just seems like a guy who would also at times lose focus and miss the plate a lot.

      • OregonCubsFan

        Doubt anyone would crowd the plate on him…

  • RoughRiider

    Starling Castro is a couple of days older than Lake. Funny how some people want the Cubs to trade Castro but love Lake.

  • Mr. Mac

    I was at the PJ show on Friday night, and the band, along with the Wrigley staff did a great job of managing a potentially dangerous situation when that storm came through. And to hear “All the Way” sung by Eddie in Wrigley…lots of grown men were teary eyed around me. My friend said to me after, “that is the reason to have a jumbotron, so they can play that video over and over.” Amen.

    • ETS

      It’s like people who “aren’t hot on porcello” anymore but love every pitching prospect that hasn’t seen an inning above high A ball.

      • ETS

        This was replied to the wrong message. Sorry for the confusion.

        • hansman1982

          Very apt comparison. PJ and Porcello.

          IT’s shiney new toy syndrome and the reason why folks want Olt but then fail to see he is a clone of Brett Jackson. He isn’t ours, he is a highly ranked prospect, I WANT HIM NOW!

  • Beer Baron

    I felt bad for Ernie when he came on stage. Sure it was cool to see him and have him welcome us to “his house” but it was after midnight on a hot, muggy night and he’s an 82 year old man. And I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that he’s probably not a big Pearl Jam fan so he probably wasn’t going to be at the show anyway. But it was definitely a cool moment and a fun night despite the excessive delay

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