Throughout the minor league season, I will be writing about a prospect every Monday who has reached the AA level or higher that could be on your fantasy roster by season's end, and what you should know about them. Junior Lake was called up by the Cubs on Friday, and let's take a look at what he can do for fantasy owners going forward this year.
Weight: 215 lbs.
On 40-man Roster: Yes (Options Used 2012 and 2013)
Age as of 7/22/13: 23
Lake was signed out of the Dominican Republic back in 2007 for a bonus of $110,000, and debuted with the Cubs' DSL team that year. The team sent him to the Arizona Rookie League for 2008, where he hit .286/.335/.417 with two home runs and 12 stolen bases in 47 games. The Cubs sent him for a full-season assignment in 2009, where he posted a .248/.277/.365 slash line with seven home runs, ten stolen bases, and 18 walks against 138 strikeouts in 131 games that year.
Despite the middling performance, the Cubs moved him to High-A for 2010, and after another middling performance he was returned there to start 2011. He finally looked dominant at a level, hitting .315/.336/.498 in 49 games before a promotion to AA Tennessee. He finished up the season with his best overall line (.279/.316/.434), along with 12 home runs, 38 stolen bases, albeit with a 109:19 K:BB ratio again.
He played the entirety of the 2012 season at AA, hitting 10 home runs and stealing 21 bases in just 103 games, with a substantially improved walk total (7.8% walk rate), although with a similar strikeout rate (23%). 2012 also saw him really get consistent playing time at third base rather than shortstop. 2013 brought Lake to AAA, where he has been playing 3B and the outfield, and has been hitting .295/.341/.462 with four home runs and 14 stolen bases at the time of his call up. So far (through Saturday's game), he is 4-7 with a double and stolen base in two starts in center field.
The Scouting Report - Scouting reports are gathered from other internet sources and written reports, unless otherwise noted.
Lake has shown excellent bat speed, and has shown solid raw power at times in the minor leagues. Considered very toolsy, Lake's performance to date has not translated to the level that it potentially could, given those tools. While he came up as a shortstop, he has been playing third base and right field primarily at AAA this year, and has an above-average arm. Jason Parks discussed him on the Fringe Average podcast last week, and the quote seems perfectly apt: "It's never all together at the same time." If it all comes together it could be amazing, but there doesn't seem to be any indication that there is any possibility of that happening.
What Can He Do For Fantasy Owners at this Point?
Right now, I would expect him to provide a decent batting average (.255-.265 range), a couple home runs, and the possibility of 5-7 stolen bases if given the opportunity to play every day. He seems mostly like an NL-only player at the moment, especially given that it doesn't seem like he is guaranteed to be playing every day for the rest of the year.
More from Fake Teams:
- Minor League Level Review (High-A): Hawkins, Williams, Lindor, Nicolino
- Keith Law's Midseason Top 50 Prospects
- Coming Soon To A Stadium Near You: Eddie Gamboa, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
- Fake Teams Podcast Episode 19: Sticking to Our Guns
- Low Level Prospect Revisited: Victor Sanchez, RHP, Seattle Mariners