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junior lake battingYou don’t need advanced metrics to know that Cubs outfielder Junior Lake is not having a good year. He’s hitting .206/.242/.365, and he’s done a great deal of that in a platoon-protected role. If you watch him, you can see that, although he’s quieted some of his movements at the plate, he still doesn’t seem to be seeing the ball well.

In sum: for the month of April, Junior Lake hasn’t looked like a great hitter.

The thing about advanced metrics that I love, however, is the ability to dig into the things that our eyes can’t see. To provide context. To understand why a player is or isn’t performing a certain way.

And, when you drill down into the “why” on Junior Lake’s season, the answer comes flying at you harder than the kind of screaming liner he hits when he does make contact. We knew that Lake was striking out too much – at 43.3%, his strikeout rate would by far lead the Major Leagues if he had enough plate appearances to qualify. But, specifically, what’s going on with Lake’s game that is leading to those strikeouts? Is it something that we expect to positively regress? Is he just taking too many pitches?

Unfortunately, no. It’s just the classic hitter problem: Lake is striking out so much because he’s swinging and missing too much. For Lake, though, the classic problem has been a nightmare, as the extent to which he’s whiffing is single-handedly torpedoing his season thus far.

First things first: Junior Lake swings a lot – 54.6% of the time he faces a pitch this year, he swings at it. Among players with at least 60 plate appearances, that’s the 19th highest rate in baseball. As you can see from the other top-listed players, a high swing rate is not, alone, a problem.

The problem arises when those swings aren’t generating much value. Lake makes contact on his swings just 62.3% of the time (37.7% whiff rate), which is 5th worst in all of baseball.

Brooks Baseball allows us to break things down even further, by pitch type – and we can bring in Spring Training data to beef up the sample a little bit. Against fastballs, Lake is whiffing 27% of the time he swings. That might not sound all that bad, but, according to data guru Harry Pavlidis, who hooked me up with some numbers, the league-wide whiff rate on fastballs this year is just 17.8%.

Worse, Lake is whiffing 49% of the time he swings at a breaking pitch, and 63%(!) of the time he swings at an offspeed pitch (changeup or splitter). Some league average whiff rates against which to compare those: 40.3% splitter, 35.6% slider, 33.8% changeup, and 29.9% curveball. Any way you slice it, Lake is swinging and missing – particularly against non-fastballs – much, much more than league average.

Unfortunately, this isn’t an entirely new story for Lake. Even in his successful partial 2013 season, Lake was whiffing 34.5% of the time, which would have placed him ahead of exactly one qualifying player in baseball last year (Chris Carter, 34.6%). When you look at individual pitch types, his struggles weren’t quite as bad (against fastballs, his whiff rate was closer to 25%; against sliders, it was 46.5%; against curveballs, it was 47.5%; against changeups, it was 45.5%; against splitters, it was 55.0%), particularly against offspeed pitches.

So, what does the data tell us? Lake has probably always had a lot of swing and miss in his game, and he showed it even in his successful 2013 season. This year, he’s swinging more than in 2013 and, whiffing a lot more than in 2013 (especially against offspeed pitches). In part, that’s what you call “the book being out on someone,” but it’s also undoubtedly just a reflection of Lake’s game.

Can he adjust, and improve his contact rate? It’s undoubtedly possible, but it sure is hard to do at the big league level. Perhaps the huge leap in swing-and-miss against offspeed stuff is a sample size fluke, and/or something Lake can rectify, at least back to 2013 levels. If so, and if he can hit fastballs just a touch better, then maybe Lake returns to being a valuable player (especially if he can play better-than-average defense in center field, but that’s an entirely separate discussion). His BABIP will always be high, thanks to his bunting ability, his hard contact ability, and his speed. But, if these kinds of swing-and-miss issues persist, the BABIP will never be high enough to keep him a productive regular.

We always said about Lake that the physical talent was there to make him a big league ballplayer. Inconsistency at the plate – which is apparently manifesting itself in contact issues against better pitchers with better scouting reports – was the thing that threatened to hold him back. So far, it is.

This will remain something worth monitoring as the 2014 season goes on.

  • Paddy26

    Lake is so frustrating because his tools are so tantalizing. If that strikeout rate could magically reduce to 20%, we’d have a hell of a useful ballplayer. Unfortunately, that reduction would be impossible. We simply do not have the technology.

  • waittilthisyear

    he swings like a madman chopping down a tree. i didnt think he could possibly swing harder than he does every pitch, then i noticed every 2-0/3-1 count he gets too, he swings so hard his helmet falls off. if he didnt try and put it onto waveland every time, he may be able to reduce those whiffs.

    far too early to give up on him, but i do wish vitters would have forced the issue on taking his place at the major league level

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      Why limit it to 2-0/3-1, he swings like that when it’s 0-2

      • ssckelley

        You are right Tommy, other than an occasional bunt attempt I never see Lake cut down his swing in order to make contact.

        • Napercal

          If we worry that Lake swings like a madman at every pitch, does it mean we should be concerned about Baez? I must admit that having watched Baez, I worry about his all or nothing approach.

          • waittilthisyear

            id say absolutely, but less so because he has had much more success to this point

          • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

            Yes absolutely the only hope is Baez will hit with so much power the K rate can be ignored. I’ve been worried about him since last year.

  • Crockett

    Yeah, his swing is enormous and his pitch recognition appears to be poor. If only, right?

  • willis

    I would let him play damn near every day for a couple weeks, see if he can get anything going, and if not, send him down to AAA to work on things and clear them up. To this point, it’s been ugly but it’s also been every other day (if that) playing. Lake has severe plate discipline issues, but I do believe the way to try and help that is to get him in there every day. If it fails, it fails. But if he can improve some, lord have mercy he’s talented.

    • mjhurdle

      “To this point, it’s been ugly but it’s also been every other day (if that) playing. ”

      lake has played in all but 3 of the Cubs games. Out of those 22 games, only 7 were pinch hitting appearances.
      He has started 60% of the Cubs games this year. And his pinch-hits are more concentrated at the start of the season and the last week, when he has been struggling.
      For a couple weeks he was getting 3-4 starts, then a pinchit, then 3-4 starts.

      Everyone has their opinions on how Lake will end up, and im not saying any of them are wrong. But if someone struggles this badly getting 3-4 starts in chunks and with the 6th most ABs on the team, I think it is safe to say the problem isn’t in the amount of playing time he is getting.

  • Darth Ivy

    Lake couldn’t hit water if he fell off a boat…..

    …..???…..

    sorry

  • itzscott

    The data tells me that he needs glasses.

  • mportsch

    The crazy thing is that Lake’s defense has kept him valuable this season, despite his massive struggles at the plate. Fangraphs has Lake at 0.1 WAR; Baseball Reference has Lake at 0.2 WAR.

    On a team with a massively struggling outfield, Lake’s performance isn’t even close to the biggest problem. Schierholtz, Sweeney, and Ruggiano have all performed below replacement level for 2014.

    I’d love to see a post exploring the struggles of the veteran outfielders relative to their career numbers. I’m not as well versed in this area as Brett, but it seems to me that Sweeney in particular is having really bad luck.

    Sweeney’s walk rate is down just a bit, and his strikeout rate is up a fair amount, but the bigger issues are a complete lack of power and a really low BABIP (.220).

    Looking at Sweeney’s batted ball data, his line drive percentage is actually UP just a touch relative to both last season and his career norm. He has traded some fly balls for ground balls, which would explain some of the loss of power, but the low BABIP just seems to be bad luck. I would expect Sweeney’s production to improve over the coming weeks, as his approach seems fairly solid.

    • Diehardthefirst

      He needs to try to hit to right center to cut down swing

  • AA Correspondant

    Told ya so……

    2 years ago

    Dude can hit the fastball (like every other MLB hitter) but put a wrinkle in it and he is lost.

    I think he is as likely to be demoted to AAA or even back to AA (See Brett Jackson and Jae Hoon Ha) and more likely to be included as part of a larger trade soon.

    In my opinion, he has very little chance as a MLB regular and I believe the Cubs will cut bait soon.

    • Funn Dave

      So, you told us…exactly what was the popular opinion at the time.

  • Aaron

    On a good team, Lake is a 5th outfielder, at best. The only reason he is getting a shot right now is because the Cubs are a lousy team. Where do you think Lake would be right now if he was in the Dodger organization?

    • abe

      Most likely he would be released…

      • BT

        Right, because the Dodgers had to make room for Chone Figgins and Mike Baxter somehow.

  • Medicos

    Sure hope batting instructor Bill Mueller reads BN. It might be his job to work with Cub hitters like Lake who are experiencing difficulties.

    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

      If the hitting coach doesn’t know about one of his hitters struggles…then the problem might be that he spends too much time on BN.

  • Diehardthefirst

    BM may even be a BN citizen to vent anonymously

    • waittilthisyear

      i am bill mueller and i approve this message

  • Spoda17

    He needs consistent starts, not that will fix it, but it will allow him to relax a bit and focus, and for the FO to have a sample size that isn’t a SSS. If that is not in RR lineup, then send him to Iowa and call up Vitters or Coglan, or someone else.

  • cubs2015

    Just abysmal pitch recognition. Every single swing is if he thinks he sees a fastball coming right down the middle. I’m fairly confident that he walks back to the dugout not even sure what pitch he just struck out on

  • Jon

    As mentioned, he’s a 5th outfielder at best. The only reason that he gets consistent at bats is because he’s part of a motley crew that not only is the worst outfield in baseball, it’s maybe the worst in recent memory of all of baseball. You honestly have to try really hard to construct a roster with an outfield that bad.

    • BT

      Yeah, you’d have to go all the way back to the 2014 Astros to find an OF that’s worse. But who can remember back THAT far?

      • Jon

        George Springer, by default, kind of makes that untrue. Thanks for playing, come again.

        • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

          The -.4 WAR George Springer?

          Or the .229 wOBA George Springer?

          Or the George Springer that is below average at making contact with the ball?

          Or the below average in RF so far George Springer?

          It’s far to early to say much about him (other than his swing and miss issues are carrying into the bigs) but he isn’t bolstering the Astros OF.

          • Jon

            The top 20 prospect in all of baseball George Springer. (that also carried an elite walk rate throughout the minors)

            • mjhurdle

              I thought prospect rankings didn’t matter in the bigs?
              or is it that they don’t matter when getting excited about the Cubs but do matter if trying to dig out of a stupid hyperbole?

              • roz

                Didn’t you hear? Minor league stats don’t matter at all for Cubs prospects, but they’re pretty much the only story for every other prospect.

            • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

              If by top-20 prospect in all of baseball by being ranked 20th on 1 ranking…

              That still doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if he can’t make sufficient contact to not suck.

            • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

              Also, the Cubs have three outfielders that were top-100 prospects!

              THREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

              • Jon

                Now referred to as “failed prospects”.

        • BT

          Oh, so we are going by future returns, not by current production then? Does that mean as soon as Bryant comes up, we have a good OF? Either way, fine.

          2013 Astros trotted out JD Martinez, Brandon Barnes and LJ Hoes. Two of their OPS+ didn’t break 80, none broke 100, only one of them is still on the team, and his current OPS+ is 29.

          How about the 2013 Mets? Juan Ligares, Eric Young, and a roided up Marlon Byrd. Does that give you a tingling feeling? The year before was Jason Bay, Lucas Duda and Andres Torres, and no one was league average.

          I’m sure there are more as these are literally the first 2 teams I thought of. How about the 2013 Twins? I didn’t look, but I bet they sucked.

          It’s not that hard to find bad outfields.

          Thanks for playing, come again.

          • Jon

            Hey I would take a roided up Marlon Byrd. Do you have proof of that btw?

            • BT

              Just his suspension for steroids.

              • Jon

                Prior to his 2013 season.

      • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

        Or the 2013 Astros OF.

        Or the 2012 Astros OF (which probably wasn’t worse, just not better).

        • Jon

          Congratulations! You won the “not as bad as the Astros’ award”! Tell em what he’s won Bob!!!! Sure..95 losses!

          • BT

            Not the point. You (of course) were making the Cubs OF sound historically bad. When pointed out that they aren’t even the worst OF to be trotted out in the 365 days, you move the goalpost. No one is arguing it’s a good OF. Stop pretending mere mortals haven’t witnessed such a tragedy before though.

            • Edwin

              They’re playing at a historically bad rate, though. They curerntly have a wRC+ of 72. Compared to all team OF from 1960-2013, that would make them the second worst outfield in that time span, at least hitting wise.

              • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                Where’d you get that from?

              • Norm

                And there are 3 teams worse, including the Mariner at a whopping 57 wRC+

              • Jon

                Does that include Bonofocio? I had a brain cramp and forgot he’s been rotating in the OF, so I take it back, if you count Bono, then no they aren’t the worst OF in recent memory.

              • BT

                But that’s pointless. There are 3 teams worse than them right now. So either it’s going to be the most historically awful year of OF’s in history, or that stat isn’t very telling.

                • Norm

                  It’s telling, it’s just too early to be meaningful.

                  • Edwin

                    Very true. A lot could happen. But so far, the statement “The 2014 Cubs OF is playing at a historically bad rate” is a true one.

                    Jon’s statement may have some hyperbole, but he’s not completely wrong.

                    • mjhurdle

                      ” he’s part of a motley crew that not only is the worst outfield in baseball, it’s maybe the worst in recent memory of all of baseball.”

                      nope, looks like he is completely wrong just from the mere fact that there are worse OFs on other teams this year.

                      I do agree if he toned down the hyperbole to say something like ‘The 2014 Cubs OF is playing its way to be one of the worst Cub outfields in the last couple decades.” then I doubt he catches much disagreement. I dont think they will be this bad all year, but that doesn’t discount the fact the they are playing poorly right now.
                      But asking Jon to tone down hyperbole is almost as useless as asking him to backup his hyperbole, which is even more useless than asking a 4 year old to prove the existence of Santa Claus.

                    • Edwin

                      I guess I don’t see what’s so controversial about his statement. The “Worst Outfield in Baseball” is a bit of a hyperbole, but not by much. Does he really deserve this much crap, just because the team is the 5th worst OF instead of the 1st worst OF currently in baseball?

                    • mjhurdle

                      You are doing an amazing job of ignoring what he actually said and toning it down for him. if he had you for his PR department, it would do wonders for him.
                      If someone says “this might be the worst OF in baseball right now”, and it turns out to be the fifth worst, then no one really cares.
                      When someone says that the OF is the worst in baseball right now (no caveat, we are supposed to accept that as fact) and might be the worst in all of baseball for the last decade or two, then they might get called on it when they aren’t even the worst OF this year.
                      i don’t see it as “controversial” to point out when someone is obviously wrong.

                    • Jon

                      You are doing an amazing job of keeping this thread going for, well who knows why…You like typing I guess.

                    • mjhurdle

                      I don’t mind typing at all. Not sure if that shifts all the way to ‘like’ or if it is just a general lukewarm feeling.

                      As far as the thread goes, I was just answering the previous post. Not sure why that bothers you.
                      Maybe we need one of Darth’s forms for you?

                    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                      Never let truth get in the way if a great narrative.

                • Edwin

                  They can still be historically bad without being the most historically bad OF. Again, if the Cubs end the season with a wRC+ of 72, compared to all teams from 1960-2013, it’s one of the worst OF ever.

                  If they finish the season being one of the 10 worst OF in the past 50 years or more, I’d say that’s historically bad.

                  • http://bleachernation.com woody

                    Yes this outfield sucks! Plain and simple.

                • Jon

                  Hurdle you can unwad your panties. They are not the worst if you count Bonofocio. So super Emilio saves the day.

                  • DarthHater

                    Nothing conveys one’s superiority in argument better than a good wadded panties remark.

                    • Jon

                      Says the author of the ButtHurt gif.

                    • DarthHater

                      That exists for the exclusive purpose of hassling Patrick W. I would never use it for anything else. :-D

                    • Cubbie Blues

                      [img]http://www.troll.me/images/winter-is-coming/brace-yourself-the-butthurt-is-coming.jpg[/img]

                  • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                    And when your narrative is proven wrong unleash the insults. Discussions on here could be the foundation of a great community college class on narrative building and myth making.

                    • Jon

                      Were not you pontificating the other day that people need to “man up” around here and “grow some thicker skin” ?

                    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                      Oh Jon I’m not sure how my comment applies in that comment, I’m actually praising you for you narrative creation and myth building skills you’re very good at it.

                      BUT, getting angry when people prove your narrative is wrong… well that’s when you need to toughen or get some extra strong Kleenex. Because throwing a tantrum like this is just STUPID!

                    • Edwin

                      Except the narrative is not actually wrong. Currently, this OF has played like one of the worst OF in decades. And Jon even admitted that when you include Bonifacio, it’s not the worst OF in the league.

                    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                      Well it’s true once faced with the reality that his first narrative was factually inaccurate he modified it as all great myths and narratives do. However if the facts weren’t presented would the story change? It rarely does especially if people support the myth. Like I said I could develop a whole college class on myth building by using the comments of Jon. It’s quite impressive to watch a myth start and get modified regularly. And if we are going to say “the worst in decades” we are also creating another beautiful literary devices where absolutes are written but they are so abstract they are unprovable. Is being in the bottom 50% equal the”worse” because it can’t be the best. It’s fascinating to watch how things are created on here.

              • Jon

                Re: Diamondbacks Pollock was very good last year, and Parra was coming off a 4.5 WAR season. All young players.

                So when I said “effort to put a shitty Outfield together” only Seattle rivals the Cubs in terms of effort. Basically..”fuck it, this is our outfield!”.

                • waittilthisyear

                  you would think, after constantly having only one person support all your asinine arguments, and have several people artfully deconstruct all the bullshit you spew, that you would take a moment to reflect on the possibility that, maybe, perhaps, you were wrong, or even just misstated, if that makes you feel better, then gracefully excuse yourself from the conversation

                  • Jon

                    Except I did. I forgot to include Bonoficio in the mix as a outfielder as well. As I’ve now for the 5th time.. Reading is a skill.

                    • Jon

                      ” As I’ve said now for the 5th time”

                • waittilthisyear

                  thats step one, ill give you that. step 2: “gracefully excuse yourself.” if your response is going to be “well im not going to sit here while im getting attacked,” you can save it.

                  • waittilthisyear

                    indeed reading is a skill

              • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                But their 5th if we include 2014.

                Wow, goes to show you SSS is still in full effect.

          • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

            I didn’t say that it was a big accomplishment…just that in about 2 seconds I was able to find 3 outfields in baseball history that were worse/equal to the Cubs current OF.

    • Norm

      Cubs OF: 250/297/329
      Cardinals OF: 214/292/321

      • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

        Damn, and that is buoyed by Holliday.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I was one that was riding the Lake band wagon during the off season. Now I’m not so sure he doesn’t suffer from Jacksonitus. The outfield is what is making this such a bad team this year. Sweeny and Schierholtz haven’t done squat so far and with the exception of Bonifacio and to a lesser extent Kalish the outfield has been atrocious from an offensive perspective. Combine that with the drop in production from the third base platoon compared to last year and the only positve regression has been with Rizzo and Castro. We have three position players on this whole team that are league average or above. I am begginig to wonder if Travis Wood might be trade bait this year also? So now we have guys trying to pitch their way out of Chicago. Sad!

    • DocPeterWimsey

      BJax and Lake have fundamentally different problems. For BJax, it is contact issues: he doesn’t swing at bad non-strikes, but he misses strikes. For Lake, it’s pitch recognition: he swings at just about everything, including a lot of stuff that he cannot hit.

      • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

        Well, Lake has Jacksonitis AND Lakeitis.

        • waittilthisyear

          Laketosis, i believe is the proper term. itis is swing and miss, tosis is pitch recognition

  • Kyle

    called it

    • BT

      Congrats! We’re all very excited for you!

  • Jon

    In fact it might be time to dust off Chris Couglan from AAA. Since the infield is pretty crowded also see Chris Valaika can get some reps out there.

    Of course since I was endorsing Josh Vitters a couple of weeks ago, he had to go and promptly poop the bed all of a sudden at AAA.

  • Jon

    More prospect porn, Almora was 0-4 today which bring his average down to .253 with a robust OBP of .260. Also, he still hasn’t taken a walk in whatever at bats

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      As one of the youngest players in the league, I think these kinds of early struggles are both understandable and potentially good for him in the long run.

      • Jon

        I beg of him to take a walk. Just one.

        • Diehardthefirst

          Bryce Harper never asked to walk — Barney should tho at least once game

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      Every day it looks more and more like Almora and Soler won’t be a factor in 2015. I think they should have signed at least one FA outfielder during the off season. This is really unacceptable to field a team without at least one starter caliber outfielder on the team. And then I remember that Nelson Cruz could have been had for a pitance, but his bat may have added a few too many runs and ruined the tanking strategy.

    • PejaO42

      At least Vogelbach has finally woken up. Up to a .253 BA

  • Fastball

    My take on Junior is that he wasn’t ready coming out of ST. Then the platoon isn’t helping because he doesn’t develop any kind of rhythem to his game. Meaning his Eyes, Hands and Body are completely out of sink. Send him down to AAA and let him have a couple days off and then play him everyday and let him get his confidence back along with his timing. He looks lost because he is. When it all goes to hell in a handbasket not many players are capable of stopping it, normaling everything up back square and starting over. Because at the ML level its 100% results and the Cubs are not committed to inserting the young players and letting them play. I am not a fan of the platooning especially with young guys. They are used to being starters at every level and then you bring them up and they are not. There entire operational being is thrown sideways. But we expect results in the created situation that is perceived to be optimal. Well it’s simply not optimal. I don’t care what anybody says. You take a kid and exact change foreign to his entire existence he isn’t going to perform well. We saw this last year with Castro and Rizzo and now we are seeing it with Lake. Last night I sat first row behind homeplate and watched everyone closely. Castro and Sweeney are locked in. The hit the ball extremely hard. I used to be a Barney supporter. After witnessing his 200 foot power I am no longer a backer. Boni still looks at the plate. I was expecting him start tailing off by now. So far so good. I was disappointed not see Olt until later in the game. I think he just needs to be inserted at 3b and left there for at least the next month. I think the platoon thing has done nothing for him either. Put Valbuena at 2b and keep Boni in CF until some prospects are called up. Shark cost himself that game with his mental errors on the mound. Not covering 1B and extending that inning another 15 pitches and then the hanging breaking ball to Tony Campana Jr. That was a watermelon ball. I have same seats for todays game so it’s going to be fun being razzed by the Reds loyalists who don’t know shit about baseball. I had a Reds exec explaining the game of baseball to a banker from Ireland sitting right behind me all night. I was laughing my ass off at this guys questions. :)

    • Diehardthefirst

      In a nutshell he will be curve balled back to the minors soon

    • DocPeterWimsey

      We don’t need any explanations other than the one we’ve had since long before ST: Lake lacks pitch recogntion. Unfortunately, Jim Hendry believed that you could turn “toolsy” athletes into baseball players, but many basic baseball tools are not general athletic tools. Pitch recognition is foremost among those.

      • Edwin

        That’s overstating it just a bit.

      • Pepitones wig

        I agree, and it goes for a few others on the team as well.

        To your point, even fat guys like Matt Stairs hang around for a long time because they have the basic baseball skill you refer to.

    • ssckelley

      So were you one of those guys howling after most of the people had left?

      Make sure you wave at us tonight.

    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

      “My take on Junior is that he wasn’t ready coming out of ST.”

      Then how did he do so well last year?

      “Then the platoon isn’t helping because he doesn’t develop any kind of rhythem to his game. Meaning his Eyes, Hands and Body are completely out of sink.”

      Except he is playing in A LOT of games and, probably, sitting against pitchers that profile similar to pitchers he has struggled against in the past. And it’s sync.

      “Send him down to AAA and let him have a couple days off and then play him everyday and let him get his confidence back along with his timing.”

      It probably wouldn’t be a bad thing to send him back to AAA.

      “He looks lost because he is. When it all goes to hell in a handbasket not many players are capable of stopping it, normaling everything up back square and starting over.”

      That’s Junior Lake for you. He looks lost as hell, then suddenly he looks great. Although, if he is a player that requires a AAA stint every time he has a rough stretch, he isn’t going to last long.

      ” Because at the ML level its 100% results and the Cubs are not committed to inserting the young players and letting them play.”

      “They are used to being starters at every level and then you bring them up and they are not. There entire operational being is thrown sideways.”

      But when other organizations treat their young players to the same easing in, they are smart to take the pressure off.

      “But we expect results in the created situation that is perceived to be optimal.”

      Of course. They are being played against pitchers that they should be having a great deal of success. Think of this way, if a hitter can only hit fastballs and you put him in against pitchers who only throw fastballs…shouldn’t he perform well?

      “I don’t care what anybody says. You take a kid and exact change foreign to his entire existence he isn’t going to perform well. We saw this last year with Castro and Rizzo and now we are seeing it with Lake.”

      Well, 2 years ago, the Cubs re-worked Rizzo’s swing and it panned out. Grimm has been sent to the pen successfully. Finding random selections of things that have worked negatively in the past has no bearing on Lake.

      “Put Valbuena at 2b and keep Boni in CF until some prospects are called up.”

      So that “locked in” Sweeney or recently hot Kalish can move to RF and “exact change foreign to [their] entire existence”?

    • Funn Dave

      “Then the platoon isn’t helping because he doesn’t develop any kind of rhythem to his game. Meaning his Eyes, Hands and Body are completely out of sink.”

      Hahaha–of all the excuses I’ve read for why Lake supposedly needs to play every day, this one’s got to be the most nonsensical. Also, btw, I believe you meant to say “sync,” not “sink.”

      • Brocktoon

        Well they’re none of those 3 things aren’t presently in a sink…or my kitchen.

  • Q-Ball

    What was it about Junior Lake’s minor league record would lead you to believe that he would be a productive major league player, other than “Tools”?

    He is strong, but has never hit for power.
    He’s fast, but doesn’t steal bases.
    He has an 80 arm, but 20 sense of direction with it.
    He can hit a pitch a foot out of the zone, and miss breaking balls right down the middle.
    He swings from his ass at just about everything.

    As you can tell, I’m ready for the Junior Lake show to end, and I never was a beleiver.

  • CubsFanNC

    Lake showed the same problems last year. He started the year 14 for 27 (.519 average and .852 slugging). Then the league figured him out.

    The rest of the way he was a .252 hitter and he went 1 for his last 20 with 10 strikeouts.

    He has to adjust his swing or his current problems will continue. He only hits mistake fastballs right now.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Lake isn’t big league material. As many experts suggested he doesn’t project to hit at this level. Baseball is littered with lots of gifted young athletes who couldn’t hit the breaking ball and flamed out quickly. Lake is simply wasting a major league roster spot right now.

    • Jon

      Who would you replace him with?

      • mjhurdle

        0% chance he says Tanaka

  • JAllman

    I think it’s funny that we need advanced metrics to tell us a guy strikes out a lot because he swings and misses a lot.

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