How I stopped worrying about the bust label and learned to love Junior Lake

There may be no Cubs prospect more polarizing than Junior Lake.  He’s a player that’s been hyped — at times overly so.  Others, like some prospect writers,  have gleefully exaggerated his shortcomings, as if consciously trying to counter that hype.

The feedback I’ve gotten back from my own industry sources is that the answer may be somewhere in between.

You don’t need to have the eye of a baseball scout and the instincts of a world class poker player to bet against a player like Junior Lake.  It’s not hard to see the flaws in his approach, both in the field and at the plate. In fact, if I were forced to make a bet on whether or not Lake makes an impact as an MLB player, I’d have to bet against it — though this is not a particularly bold statement.  Admittedly it’s much safer to bet on those prospects who won’t make an impact than those who will.  The odds are greatly in your favor. This is true for the simple reason that most prospects, especially those not among the top 50 in baseball, never reach that level.

There have been many betting against Lake from the moment he was signed for $500,000 out of the Dominican Republic.  He’s always had enormous physical gifts yet he was frightfully raw, much more athlete than baseball player.  When Lake hit .248/.277/.365 at Class A Peoria with atrocious defense in 2009 — and then had a disastrous start to the 2010 season at Daytona (.187 with 0 HRs at the all-star break), the “I told you so‘s” were almost deafening.  Some even speculated that the Cubs were about to give up on their would-be phenom.

And then something clicked for Lake.  He hit .302/.351/.496 with 9 HRs the rest of that season.

In fact, since the middle of 2010, including a stint in the Fall League in 2011 and the Dominican Winter League in 2012, Lake has put up some pretty good numbers.  If you tally up the totals (almost 1500 PAs) and make them proportional to a 600 PA season, you get the following “season”…

.289/.339/.467 with  16 HRs and 38 steals.

The majority of these numbers have been compiled at a reasonably high level of competition.  Two-thirds of the numbers have been put up at what we can call AA competition or above (AA, AZ Fall League, Domincan Winter League) and the other third was compiled in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League.

But we can’t let ourselves get too excited yet. Lake still has an unrefined approach at the plate.  He will still swing at some pretty bad pitches. He has put up a below average 6.4% walk rate over the time frame discussed here.  In the field Lake has tremendous athletic ability and elite arm strength, but questionable instincts and occasionally sloppy play.

To be fair, he has improved his approach and walk rate since last season.  Between AA and the winter league, Lake has put up a respectable 8.1% walk rate over his last 621 PAs. You also may hide some of those defensive issues by putting him in the OF, where his speed and arm should play very well.  But by doing so, you also increase the burden on his bat, particularly if he has to play one of the corners.

It’s for many of these reasons that I still have my doubts as to whether Lake can be an everyday player in the big leagues, much less a star — but it doesn’t mean he can’t at least be a useful MLB player.  Perhaps he can find a fit somewhere as a starter, but right now I like him best as a potential multi-positional player who comes off the bench and adds speed and power.  When you consider he can probably play 3B, both OF corners, SS, and CF, he can add tremendous value to a team’s bench.  In my opinion, a super-sub type role where you give him favorable pitching match-ups is ideal.  Defensively, you can utilize his athletic ability while limiting his exposure at any one position.

For now though, I’m going to ignore the naysayers and just enjoy Lake’s raw talent and his ability to make the occasional eye-popping play, win a game with his legs, or hit tape measure HRs.  I’ll worry about his ultimate role and potential impact with the Cubs when the time comes.


Dale Sveum spoke about Junior Lake yesterday…

Per Carrie Muskat

Expect to see Junior Lake in the outfield for the Cubs in Cactus League games. Lake, who has primarily played third and short in the Cubs’ Minor League system, did play in the outfield in the Dominican Republic winter league.

If the Cubs need a utility player during the season, Lake could be the one.

“He’s obviously the guy who has played Double-A and will go to Triple-A, and with those abilities and power, speed, athleticism, he’s definitely on the radar,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “If somebody goes down, hopefully he’s doing well and progressing at third base and can get called up and get the playing time.”

Lake is a little unorthodox in terms of his defensive play at third, which is why the Cubs want him to play more in the Minors and get more experience.

“You can’t simulate games by [hitting] ground balls [in practice],” Sveum said. “Guys with that kind of arm don’t realize how much time they really have to get rid of a ball because nobody is going to outrun that kind of arm.”

Filed under: Profiles, prospects

Tags: Junior Lake


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  • this is another article for why i love cubs den. I have heard so much talk ether about how lake should be the starting third basemen opening day or he wont make it past AAA. It always seems like with every article i read it is a great article with facts etc,,,

  • Thanks kingpro! Glad you liked it.

    I was surprised he has hit that well over the past few years and he's been in some pretty tough leagues.

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    Great article! It cuts through the BS about Lake, and gets to the reality.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Thanks. I really wanted to cut through the BS on both sides of the debate.

  • Lets hope he discovers himself this season, so they don't consider
    trading to soon, if ever.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    He's made a lot of progress already. I think whether he becomes a full time starter or not, he can be a pretty exciting ballplayer.

  • I agree completely with your take on Junior Lake. He's one of the guys I'd like to see force his way onto the 25-man in the next season and a half. It would be nice to have one of these uber-toolset guys surprise us in a good way.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    It would, wouldn't it? His physical skills are electrifying. I think the biggest question is whether he'll hit because at worst he should be able to play a pretty good OF if he can't cut it in the infield.

  • As you show John, Lake has a trait that many good major league players had in the minors. He has gotten better as the competition has gotten tougher. Interesting comment that Sveum made the other day, about how he has to learn to play lower in the field.
    And we forget he turns 23 at the end of March and he is holding his own in spring ball and a tough winter league.

  • Exactly Cubbie Ron. That's what gives me some hope with Lake -- he's able to make those adjustments pretty quickly. It's no small thing because, as we've seen, Josh Vitters has had trouble doing that his whole career. It indicates he has some aptitude for the game despite how raw he still is.

    I hope he makes it because I think he'll be a fun player to watch if he can at least hit a little.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Junior Lake reportedly grew two inches taller last year, which slowed his progress for a while with some growing pains in the back. Physically, he looked like a man among men with his Smokies teammates when I saw them in Florida. And he never got cheated on a swing.
    Hope he's maturing in all aspects and can contribute soon.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    He has grown and that's what give you hope he can eventually add power. But his game needs a lot of refinement -- and it will probably never be completely polished. But maybe he can be a useful, sometimes exciting player.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Comment deleted

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Very inappropriate. No need for these types of comments here.

  • Ha, good title. This spring is the first time I've seen Lake play, until now I just knew his numbers, which were impressive because they seemed to show that always-hard-to-predict ability to adapt. My first impression seeing him is that he looks like a basketball player. Almost like a miniature Garnett with that skinny torso. I wonder if he's ever been tried as a pitcher with that build and his strong throwing arm.

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    In reply to Carne Harris:

    I remember a while back there was talk about converting Lake into a power pitcher. He has the athleticism required to repeat his delivery and develop good command and I think his fastball was projected to reach the mid-high 90's if he was pitching. The idea was scraped when Lake started hitting but if he fall off the earth I think a conversion is the next step.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I guess it's possible he completely flops in the next couple of years but I dont see that as likely anymore. He'll probably hit in AAA and make the majors at some point. Conversion still possible but much more rare once a guy reaches the majors.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    They talked about him being a pitcher after that bad start in Daytona back in 2010 but there really hasn't been any serious talk about it since then. At this point when you're hitting AA and winter ball pitching, that pretty much puts the kibosh on any idea about switching a player.

  • If he can't catch or throw, he will have trouble making a ML roster. Lets hope he does, as he certainly appears as though he could be an exciting player.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    He can catch and throw, he has one of the better arms in baseball He'd probably make a great outfielder. Instincts in the infield are questionable, but not as important at 3B.

  • I was just thinking. Could he be the 25th man with him being able to play all 3 OF positions plus 3B and SS? He is already on the 40 man list. I would like to see what McKay could teach him to play the OF. Looks like the Cubs will have another nice problem soon.

  • In reply to John57:

    I think he could do it from a verasatility standpoint but I'm not sure he's ready to hit MLB pitching. The front office also likes for their position prospects to spend a year in AAA. Rizzo did, Jackson will do it, Lake will probably do it.

  • I'm wondering if Lake won't be one of those players who out-of-the-blue develop more than expected simply because of the new approach under the new FO. Take a raw but talented player, throw him into professional baseball without the proper coaching and you get a player like Lake who is all over the board with good and bad play. If we can get to him in time with good coaching and some patience, we might be surprised.

  • In reply to cubster:

    I hope that's the case. Lake probably won't ever have a classic approach but he can improve it enough to the point where he can play up that natural talent.

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    I'm still hopeful he can make it as an everyday CF eventually. In fact, I don't know why he hasn't gotten more playing time in center yet. If he can handle it defensively, and everything suggests that he can, his bat has a chance to profile just fine there (especially if he learns to be a little more patient at the plate, take some walks and thus raise his OBP).

  • In reply to João Lucas:

    I think you have a great idea. Even if he doesn't raise his walk rate, his numbers that John compiled (.289/.339/.467 with 16 HRs and 38 steals) are already very good for a CF. A .806 OBS is very good for just about any position let alone a defensive position up the middle. It should be interesting how the FO handles him. They do seem to be pulling all the right strings.

  • In reply to João Lucas:

    Sometimes I think his best chance to play everyday is in CF. I think with Jackson capable of taking CF this year and Almora down the road, maybe they want to give him a shot at 3B which is still relatively open.

  • In reply to João Lucas:

    With his arm, hes more suited to RF or LF. Can you imagine if Lake and Soler are our corner OF in 3 yrs? who in the world would want to run on them?

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Don't forget Almora has a plus arm in CF too.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Starting to remind me of the Pirates OF of the early 90S, with Bonds, Bonilla and Van Slyke. All with above avg arms.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    I was hoping for the equivalent of the Expos outfield of Dawson, Cromartie and Valentine.

  • Great stuff as always, John. Under the new F.O., I would imagine that Lake has been getting a lot more guidance and instruction than before. It seems that with all the looks he is getting now, the Cubs brass really want to see what he can do and what it might take to correct his problems. I would imagine that Dale and Co have made him their special project. It would be great to see him put it all together.

  • In reply to supercapo:

    Thanks supercapo. It's interesting to note that Lake has already raised his walk rate by about 2% in his first year with this FO. It's a sign they're working with him. Always found it interesting that he spent so much time in AZ with just a minor injury before going to AA.

  • From a development standpoint I think the best thing for Lake is to work on one position. I think as a supersub he would end up being about average at all positions, but with his athletic ability if he works on one position I can see the potential for greatness. On a side note my son and I were at a Smokies game last summer and my 12 yr old shy son had a ball and a pen standing near the dugout and was asking me how to get autographs. Junior Lake came up behind him and said let me and signed his ball. In the game Lake hit a double an a homer (also a throwing error). He is now my sons favoite player, and after the game my son decided baseball is a great game and he is now playing in a local league.

  • In reply to Cubfin:

    Very cool. Thanks for sharing the story. It's great how players can have an impact on kids if they just take the time.

    I'm not sure Lake will ever be a great defensive infielder but I can understand why the Cubs would try him there as long as possible. There's more value there. I think he probably fits best in the OF in one of the corners defensively -- and I don't think it would take him long to pick it up. The problem is he probably won't hit for enough average/OBP or power for a corner outfielder. Maybe he can carry 3B or CF on offense, but CF is probably a short term position for him in this organization.

  • In reply to Cubfin:

    Awesome story!

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    John, outstanding article. However, I don't share much optimism. I'm rooting for Lake, don't get me wrong, but he's "toolsy", which isn't a compliment when you're 23.

    He strikes out too much for a guy who doesn't hit home runs......he might be valuable as a 3B, but who knows if he can make it there.

    Hope I'm wrong....if he can put together decent 3B defense, that position is wide open for us in the short term, that's for sure

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Thanks Zonk. I don't know if I'd call the article optimistic, though ;)... unless you're saying being a sub who can play multiple positions is optimistic for him. At this point I don't really think he's a starter at any position, kind of a guy stuck in between positions... but I think eventually he can help the team off the bench.

  • One glass-is-half-full reminder, regarding Lake:

    Alfonso Soriano was putting up Lake-like numbers in AA at age 23 (offensively and defensively). Juan Samuel was in AA at age 22 and was a bit better than Lake, but with a similar skill set, K/W rate, and defense. Lake is a similar player to those guys at roughly the same age, with similar strengths and weaknesses--although, admitedly, he is behind Samuel at the same age and hasn't shown as much power as Samuel did. Nonetheless, those two guys come to mind as the type of player Lake could become if things click for him.

    Another thing: last year, I heard some people saying that Jae-Hoon Ha didn't have enough power to be a MLB OFer, or that Christian Villanueva didn't have enough power to be a good MLB 3Bman. That made me curious--how many 30HR guys in MLB were showing significant power as 21 year olds? I did a quick rundown of all the MLB hitters who were then on pace for 30HR and found that roughly half of them showed big time power as 21 year olds, and roughly half of them didn't.

    For example, Jason Kubel hit 5 HR in a full season of high A ball as a 21 year old; Curtis Granderson hit 3 HR in 52 games of short season ball as a 21 year old.

    Lake strikes me as the kind of guy, based on his athleticism, frame and strength, who could be in that 50% of guys who add significant power later in life, in their mid to late 20's. I wouldn't be shocked if he becomes a 30 HR guy down the road. If he does at some point, he could stick as a MLB OFer, which I believe is his best shot at a career, because I am very skeptical that he will ever have enough glove for the infield.

    As you said, John--you wouldn't want to bet on Lake making it. Yet, based on some of these other guys I've mentioned, he certainly has a shot, and this FO is not one to give up on guys with ceilings like Lake's--I would expect them to give him every chance to develop and establish himself.

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    Thanks for that info re: Soriano and Samuel. It does cause one to think pretty positively about Lake. I think he is bigger than either, also, and will probably fill out. Let's hope he becomes a feared hitter for us or someone else as he brings back value via trade. This is a big "what if" (I know the odds are against it), but what if he becomes our everyday 3rd baseman to go with Soler, Almora, and BJax in the outfield, Rizzo, Baez, and Castro in the infield, Castillo behind the plate. Are we looking at some insane run production there? We can hope.

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    And the players you just mentioned are above average defensively. I would like to add that at most of the non-pitching positions there is an additional 2/3 solid prospects behind them. The wave after wave of positional players is in place. Scouting and player development is clicking on all cylinders.

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    Good stuff Svaz. Juan Samuel is a an interesting comparison and I think it's plausible he could be that kind of player on offense.

    I also think he could hit for more power in time. He certainly has the size and strength for it and he's already capable of launching some long HRs. If he can tap into that consistently we could see a rise in HRs for him as he gets older.

  • Just from everything I have read about Lake, he seems to be like a guy who will make the spectacular play and mess up the routine plays. Kind of like our own Mr. Starlin Castro at shortstop. Bench players/utility guys are usually the type that are steady and not great at anything. I hope Lake makes it, but he doesn't like a utility guy to me. Good piece though John!

  • In reply to Justin:

    Lake and Castro are not really similar players. Castro was an average defender at SS and played above average from May to August. He's also a very different type of hitter.

    Utility players come in all shapes and sizes. I don't know if you remember Jose Hernandez, an athletic player with power (and strikeout issues) who could play all over the field. Was probably a better fielder than Lake, but Lake adds some value as the better baserunner.

    I think eventually Lake plays more OF than infield and that he will probably be an above average defender out there. That would alleviate some defensive concerns. I'm more worried about his ability to hit.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah, I remember Hernandez. That seems a fair comparison. I wasn't saying that Lake and Castro were similar other than the fact that they both can make awesome plays, and make completely terrible errors at the same time. When I think of utility players, guys like Miguel Cairo or Craig Counsell to mind for me.

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    One this is for sure: the ICubs are going to be a lot more watchable this year (particularly before Brett Jackson gets a callup) than they were last year. I'd say that's a sign of progress.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    They'll have some pretty good speed and some nice power. Should be a fun team to watch.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    It's a relative thing here. The lineup they fielded last year consisted of Blake Dewitt, Blake Lalli, and Alfredo Amezaga -- as starters. Things were even worse after Castillo got a callup.

    This year, they may not be world beaters, but at least the deadweight is largely gone. Even guys like Brad Nelson and Brian Bogusevic are viable major league replacement players.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I also like that they have better athleticism with Jackson, Watkins, Lake, Bogusevic, possibly Ha.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Definitely -- best example of such is Watkins taking over for Adrian Cardenas at second. Something of a push offensively, but defensively will be much easier on the eyes.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The minor league teams, particulary Daytona and Kane Co, will be equally interesting to watch. Even batting practice.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Agreed, the Iowa team was a train wreck last year. They had to be the worst AAA team in baseball last year.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I went and watched 5 straight games in Iowa late last May. In the first game - Rizzo, Jackson, and Vitters all hit HR out of the stadium. I think they all doubled as well. I was super excited, but they lost the next four games and Jackson probably struck out about 10 times during those losing games.

  • In reply to KSCubsFan:

    They did start off with a talented team but the Cubs kept pillaging their players. Such is life for the AAA team of a rebuilding club, I guess. They'll probably have a lot of turnover again this season.

  • here is my take on Lake.....he is excellent trade bait for Theo......there is no room on this roster for Lake.....he has no real position that he masters.....Baez might be playing third by 2015.....but the real third basemen to keep on an eye on is Christian Villanueva.....Lake will be a good hitter, but in all sense, he is a liability where ever he plays at....Villanueva is the guy everyone should be talking about by next Spring.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    One thing I want to clear up here...excellent trade bait doesn't mean a guy you don't want or don't think you have room for.

    Excellent trade bait is defined by what you can get in return. The Cubs won't get equivalent value for Lake on the market. The Cubs are better off keeping him at AAA where he can potentially fill in at a number of positions. There's more value there than what a team will give you for a AA prospect who isn't among your organizations top 10.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I saw a report that Lake was #9 on the Cubs prospect chart.......I would take a pitcher in return to boost our staff.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Won't get a worthwhile pitcher straight-up for Lake. As I said, not enough trade value there.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Ive heard some of our former scouts had discussed Lake as a pitcher, ala Kyler Burke. He has the arm strength, John, if he cant cut it as a position player you think theres any possibility they might try him on the mound?

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    There was talk of that but that was mostly 2-3 years ago when he was really struggling. A few guys like Goldstein have tried to keep that idea alive, but in reality it's not even being considered by the Cubs at this point. Unlike Burke, Lake has hit pretty well at the upper levels and barring a collapse at AAA will be a big league ballplayer. Burke repeatedly struggled with Class A pitching.

    It's always possible if Lake shows he absolutely can't hit MLB pitching, but he's pretty far along as a position player now and would have nothing except a big fastball as a pitcher. Burke was a very good high school pitcher with a 90 mph fastball and a plus curveball -- would have been a first rounder as a hitter or pitcher that year.

  • It'd be great if Lake could eventually wind up being like a Mark McLemore or even Mark DeRosa. A jack of all trades, but a master of none.

  • In reply to irishivy75:

    Mark McLemore.....there is a player who showed up in every Donruss baseball card package.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Another name that keeps coming to mind is Tony Phillips, even though he never had great power #s , just a valuable bench guy everywhere he played.

  • In reply to irishivy75:

    That would be the ideal scenario. I think he has to become a better defender to reach the level of those guys -- though I do think Lake can be a great OF'er and it appears he'll get the chance soon per Carrie Muskat/Dale Sveum.

  • Article from Carrie Muskat talks to Sveum and kind of echoes the sentiments here...

    Expect to see Junior Lake in the outfield for the Cubs in Cactus League games. Lake, who has primarily played third and short in the Cubs' Minor League system, did play in the outfield in the Dominican Republic winter league.

    If the Cubs need a utility player during the season, Lake could be the one.

    "He's obviously the guy who has played Double-A and will go to Triple-A, and with those abilities and power, speed, athleticism, he's definitely on the radar," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "If somebody goes down, hopefully he's doing well and progressing at third base and can get called up and get the playing time."

  • Garza starting the season on the DL.

    Ian Stewart two weeks away from hitting.

  • I watched Lake play a couple of times last year and he is an impressive kid. I have hopes that things will break for this guy, but the road has to clear for him. If Vitters starts at 3B for Iowa and Stewart somehow secures a spot at 3B for the Cubs, this creates a logjam. I still don't like Vitters at 3B, his instincts and hands scream "LF" to me. If Stewart could play well enough to become a trade candidate quickly, it could help things. Lake looks better at SS than 3B, right now...but barring an injury to Castro, that ain't gonna happen.

  • In reply to RayA:

    Some talk that he may be passing Vitters on the depth chart already. It also seems like they may play Lake some in the OF...perhaps he'll still play some SS, but I don't see that as his position in the majors. I think he'll move around, and so will Vitters (3B, 1B, LF, RF)

    Agree with you on Vitters defense. For me it's his footwork. Seems a bit awkward at times there.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Aramis Ramirez had a good deal of trouble early in his career with footwork. Maybe someone should suggest ballet courses for Vitters, they certainly helped Lynn Swann before his NFL career.

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    Completely off topic: I just used CubsDen to test a tool I've build to gather data for my dissertation.

    John, when I win a Nobel, I'll be sure to include you in a smallish footnote.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Haha! Thanks! Good luck with the Nobel!

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    If you're really lucky, you'll make it into my autobiography, tentatively titled, "You're Welcome, World." (Yes, I stole that from Chuck Lorre.)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:


    I'll keep my fingers crossed :)

  • Sounds fairly logical-physical tools are there with Lake, but he needs to work on his mental approach. With his cannon arm(I heard a Reds scout say that Lakes arm was stronger than Solers, just not as accurate) hed make a nice corner OF if he can put up offensive numbers. Lake does seem to suffer a bit by being compared to Castro, since they came into the system at the same time.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Castro's arm is an 80 on the scouting scale for me. Saw him make a play when he was with Tennessee last year -- he was a few feet behind the 3B bag near the foul line, threw it flat-footed on a clothesline to 1B. The arm is Dunston-esque.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Do you mean Lake's arm?

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Ooops. Yes, meant Lake's arm. Castro's arm not THAT strong :)

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Speaking of arms, did you see that Flaherty was on ESPN's top plays the other day? Went deep in the hole and fired a strike to nail the runner at 1st. Funny that Theo mentioned him as a regrettable decision earlier in the week....

    Oh well, can't complain about our pipeline of strong-armed IF'ers.

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    I was a little surprised they left him unprotected. Has a decent approach and some power -- and a good arm, as you point out. Ahh, well. I don't think he's going to be a star but he could have been in the mix to start at 3B this year.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That jibes with what the Reds scout said about him. As a matter of fact, Dunston was the name he brought up when he mentioned it. Same guy, discussing Soler, seems to put him in a similar category to Mr Cruz down in Texas, I sorta disagreed, Soler looks like a far better defender.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Cool, good to hear. As a side note, I like how Dunston is still the standard when you talk about infield throwing arms.

  • I think it's way too early to label him a bust. He's not quite 23yo yet, and until last year has played his entire career in an organization with no clearly defined development plan for him. Give Theo/Jed's plan time to see some results.... Maybe he will develop into an everyday MLB'r, maybe a super-sub... maybe he'll fade away.

    I'm just happy we have a plan in place to take advantage of his tools.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    He's definitely not a bust. Just saying quite a few people still expect him to be one. I do think this FO has given his prospect status some legitimacy, but he'll always have his detractors. I imagine even if he becomes a solid sub or even an average starter, he'll continue to get criticized. People don't like to be wrong.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah, I know. Probably the same people who think Castro needs to be traded...

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    If it's been discussed, I must've missed it, but ESPN had an article, "The Best 30 players in 2018".

    Castro came in at #8 and Rizzo got #15.

    Rizzo is the highest ranked 1B and Castro is the 3rd ranked SS.

    Considering the list starts off with Trout, Harper, Kershaw, Stanton, Posey... Those are some pretty formidable rankings.

    Now if Baez could just become the next Cano, we're in business.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Or Tulowitzski, Pujols, or Josh Hamilton. Still burns me the Cubs gave up Hamilton for nothing.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    They didn't. That pick already belonged to the Reds - the Cubs made it on their behalf.

  • In reply to TheFiveYearPlan:

    This has come up frequently yet there is still a misunderstanding. The pick did not belong to the Reds. If it would have, the Reds would have simply picked Hamilton and the Cubs wouldn't have been involved. The pick belonged to the Cubs and they sold the pick to the Reds so they could get Hamilton. Hence, the Cubs could have chosen to pick Hamilton and keep him for themselves had they desired to do so.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Thanks for posting that Giffmo.

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