Cubs Minor League Daily: Why Lake?

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Cubs Minor League Daily: Why Lake?

Chicago Cubs

junior lake cubsAs noted yesterday, Junior Lake has been called up to Chicago. This is an interesting move.

While the status of the 40 man roster and the fact that Lake is already on it no doubt played a role in this move, clearing a slot on the 40 man could be as easy as Hector Rondon finally coming down with his long-expected case of Rule-5-itis and being moved to the 60 man DL (assuming I’m counting correctly and he’d still get in enough service time should the Cubs make that move, that is). Had the Cubs wanted to move up someone else the roster would not necessarily have had to stand in the way.

That makes me think that they wanted Lake. Given that Lake is their best position prospect in Triple A right now that move makes a certain amount of sense. The problem is that Lake just started playing third base in a sustained way this season. There are some things a player can develop while sitting on the bench and watching in the majors, but the reactions and experience necessary to handle third base at a high level is not on that list. And given that Lake has only been playing in Iowa for a few weeks, he probably doesn’t need a breather on Chicago’s bench yet.

That suggests Lake is going to play fairly regularly. Where? Speculation has been outfield, but I suspect third base. And that implies a trade is very imminent.

If Darwin Barney is dealt, Luis Valbuena likely moves over to second base and Lake inherits third for (potentially) the rest of the season. Or if it is Valbuena in the deal, then Lake simply steps right in. And if both are dealt? Then we either see someone coming back in the deal to take over at second or Logan Watkins comes up to take over second base.

On the other hand, if no deal arrives then Lake has no obvious place to play every day. If the Cubs were looking for a pure bench guy, then I think Watkins made more sense. The only reason to call up Lake is to play him.

And so I am looking for a deal that includes either Valbuena or Barney in the very near future.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – Iowa rallied in the eighth to take the 6-3 win.
Tennessee – A five run eighth inning rally was not quite enough. The Smokies lost 7-6.
Daytona –  The rain didn’t go away, so the game did. This one was postponed.
Kane County –  And now the Cougars are 21 games under .500 on the season. They lost 3-2.
Boise – The Hawks used a seventh inning rally to take a 3-2 win.
Arizona – A run in the ninth carried the AZL Cubs to the 3-2 win.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Infielder Donnie Murphy homered (his 11th) and doubled to drive in 4 of the Cubs runs.
  • [Iowa] Eduardo Sanchez and Brian Schlitter were each impressive in relief. Both relievers struck out the side without giving up anything in one inning of work.
  • [Tennessee] All Star catcher Rafael Lopez hit his 6th home run and drew a walk to complete a 1 for 3 day.
  • [Tennessee] Rubi Silva added his 6th triple in this game. He is in the midst of a hot streak that has seen him post an OPS of .930 in his last ten games.
  • [Tennessee] Eric Jokisch gave up 3 runs on 3 walks and 5 hits while striking out 6 in his 5 inning start. Marcos Mateo tossed a scoreless inning in relief as he continues his rehab stint.
  • [Kane County] Gioskar Amaya smacked his 6th triple for the Cougars. His July OPS is up to 1.007.
  • [Kane County] Jose Rosario limited the hits to just 4 over 5 innings, but that was offset by allowing 4 walks against just 3 strikeouts.
  • [Boise] The only Hawk with a multi-hit day was Cael Brockmeyer who finished 2 for 3 with his second double.
  • [Boise] Rob Zastryzny was efficient in his 2 innings of work. He allowed just one hit, no walks, and recorded all his outs on contact.
  • [Boise] Sam Wilson was the next to the mound. He struck out 3 in 2 innings of work without giving up anything.
  • [Arizona] Jesse Hodges finished with 2 hits while playing third base. His was the only multi-hit day.
  • [Arizona] Tyler Ihrig struck out 4 and allowed 2 hits in his 2 innings of work. David Villegas picked up the save by striking out 2 in a perfect ninth.

Other News

  • Need a reason to smile? Take a listen to all 27 outs of the nine inning no-hitter tossed by Daytona Cub Matt Loosen twelve days ago.
  • I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating – games in Arizona are absurdly hot. Despite an evening start time the game temperature in Surprise was 103 degrees. I can’t stand the 95 degrees that has been in Baltimore the past few days. Anyone who can play professional baseball in those conditions gets my respect.

Author: Luke Blaize

Luke Blaize is the Minor League Editor at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @ltblaize.