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Yesterday’s win over the A’s had the Cubs going deep all over the place. That was particularly true for Junior Lake, who went deep three times.

Lake gets his hands down and quickly through the zone on his first homer:

And Lake’s second homer actually looks pretty similar:

What I find interesting about his plate appearances there – and you could see it throughout the game – is that Lake appears to haveĀ significantly quieted down his hands pre-swing, especially as the pitcher comes to the plate. This was something I noted about him last week when he was really struggling, and I wonder if it was a conscious change (you never know with Lake, because inconsistency has always been the name of the game with him). Not everyone can be shifting all around as the pitcher delivers like Javier Baez.

And Lake’s third homer went deeeeeep to center (albeit on a hanging breaking ball that pretty much said, “hey, dude, blast me”):

Lake sure does like to watch his homers, eh? I don’t actually have a strong opinion on the subject, though I would point out that his first homer only barely got out. On those ones, you better put your head down and run, lest you be rightfully blasted when it caroms off the wall for an embarrassing single.

Luis Valbuena went back-to-back with Lake twice, and the first of those came on the first pitch he saw. Note that there is no bat flip, just a mini-toss, and there is also a mini-hop:

Valbuena does it again, and the mini-hop is a little more pronounced. By the time he’s got, say, 10 homers this year, will we be seeing a full-on Sammy hop?:

And Mike Olt’s homer, which I’m pretty sure hit that red car which was passing the ballpark at just the wrong time:

Ok, maybe it didn’t hit the car. That’s a good thing.

  • Lightning Jimmy Joe

    3 of those 5 HR’s came on full counts.

    …. Nice!

  • jp3

    I find it funny that soon as we say hey Lake’s bat won’t play in left he hits 3 bombs(ok 2 were bombs). I realize this was a fluke but that’s not to say he can’t possibly 15-20 homers if he starts 150 games in CF which would be quite valuable. Not to mention its Spring so I can still get my hopes up and hope Castro comes back around, Olt shows up, and wait…we’re still going to be terrible.

    • David

      And 25 to 30 stolen bases????

      • jp3

        Yeah I guess, given he plays 150+ games he could, he had about 18 last year combining AAA and mlb games and that was only about 100 games.

  • Lightning Jimmy Joe

    3 of 6*
    sorry

  • abe

    Maybe we should play both Olt and Valbuena at third.

    Looks like we have a full blown competition for 3rd base.

    • jp3

      Yeah and I would think a platoon might be the most effective way to go I don’t think it’s a good idea. We need to see what we have in Olt seeing he has the better chance to come up with a potential all star/trade chip. We need all the big trading chips we can get for some TOR pitching talent.

      • ClevelandCubsFan

        Let Valbuena play 3rd against tough righties. Let him play second against all other righties.

        • DarthHater

          So, against the toughest righties, we would rather have Barney in the lineup than Olt? I think not.

          • jp3

            Fear the Barney

  • David

    Also…. I recall Arizona had a bit of interest in Lake a while back…. I could be wrong. Maybe sell high on him and trade him with Shark for Bradley?

  • E

    With a bit more polish, I can easily see Lake joining the 20/20 club.

  • itzscott

    Olt was considered a blue chip prospect in all of baseball and touted to be a potential ML All-Star.

    He got beaned, concussed and then had a mysterious tear duct malady which completely destroyed his 2013.

    It appears that’s all behind him, he’s back to being that blue chip prospect and he seems to be breaking out.

    Why would anyone even consider him a trading chip and not just as easily consider him a long-term fixture at 3rd?

    • WGNstatic

      Because there is considerable depth around the infield for the Cubs. What you are saying about Olt could easily be said about any of Castro, Rizzo, Baez, or Alcantarra, add in Bryant and Villanueva, and it will be disappointing if the Cubs DON’T trade one of their young infielders.

      • David

        Agreed. I also think Baez fits at 3rd, long term. I believe once his body fills out, he may lose some range at short.

      • itzscott

        That’s absolutely nuts!

        Alcantara and Villanueva aren’t anywhere close to where Olt is now and may never be.

        Why create a hole again that appears like it could finally be filled?

        Bryant is projected as a corner outfielder.

    • Sandberg

      Agreed. There’s no reason to trade Olt until someone pushes him out at the MLB level.

      • David

        Wouldn’t give him away… but if we can an awesome return of starting pitcher(s), I think you have to do it. We have 2 guys to potentially play 3rd, long term. Baez and Bryant. Also stocked in minors.

  • MattyNomad

    I’ve noticed a bit of that too. Both Lake and Rizzo have gone quiet with the hands. I feel like im seeing quite a bit more 3-2 counts than I remember from some of our young talent too. Of course its only ST, but i’m really hoping Lake continues the progress and can hit that ceiling he shows from time to time.

    • Head and Heart

      Even if he doesn’t reach his potential ceiling I think he could become an above average CF option until forced out by an Almora type prospect. 2-3 win player with a little more consistency in his game wouldn’t be a bad out come.

  • D-Rock

    Awesome. Just plain awesome. Hope they save some homers for the regular season!

  • cavemancubbie

    I’m warm and cozy so forgive my foolish kool-aid. Cubs have a murders row, Baez, Olt, Lake and Rizzo, followed by Bryant, Solar and Castro. Is it wrong to dream?

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