July 24th, 2014 at 1:50 PM
By Tim Duxbury
Chicago Cubs outfielder Junior Lake burst on to the scene last summer as a rookie and brought energy to dead team. At one point, Lake was drawing Yasiel Puig-type attention with his play and some fans wanted to rename Lake Michigan, Lake Junior (get it!). Heading in to 2014 it was believed that Lake had earned himself a permanent place in the Cubs’ outfield but now some fans are wondering why he is still in the major leagues. Lake had a solid month of May, hitting .273 with four home runs but has hit no higher than .219 in any other month and is currently hitting .215 on the year. So with the trade deadline fast approaching and roster moves happening daily, its time to ask, “What is Junior Lake’s future?”
? 2013 John, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio
There is the consensus theory that Lake is just a bust and should be traded or demoted but that seems too easy. Diving into Lake’s 2014 stats reveals that it’s possible that he is just being misused. Outside of his stats from the month of May, Lake’s numbers have been pretty awful across the board:Read more... Join the Conversation...
July 24th, 2014 at 6:00 AM
By Tim Duxbury
? 2009 Sergio Goncalves, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio
Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada is different from the other Japanese imports who have come before him because here he is, at age 33, and just yesterday he made only his second major league start. The Concept of an established foreign pitcher coming to the MLB and spending a number of years in the minors sounds outlandish to us given our experience with guys like Daisuke Matsuzaka, Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka who were on big league rosters from day one. The Difference between these guy and Tsuyoshi Wada is that Wada wasn’t a superstar in Japan. Matsuzaka, Darvish and Tanaka were all superstars from a young age and chose to make the jump to the big leagues in their mid 20’s (26, 25, 25 respectively) where as Wada was 31 when he made his first appearance in America. In Japan, Matsuzaka won 14 or more games in six out of his eight seasons, Darvish had an ERA under 1.88 in five of his seven seasons and Tanaka’s ERA was under 1.87 in three of his seven seasons, including his 2013 campaign in which he went 24-0. Wada, on the other hand, was a relatively average pitcher for his first seven years in the league. It wasn’t until 2010 & 2011, when he was 29 and 30 years old, that he became dominant. Read more... Join the Conversation...
July 23rd, 2014 at 4:00 PM
By Tim Duxbury
? 2014 John, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio
Yesterday was a busy day for the Chicago Cubs between Anthony Rizzo’s home runs and a number of roster moves made at all levels of the organization. Lets start with Rizzo. The Chicago Cubs first baseman hit two more home runs in last night’s 6-0 win over the San Diego Padres, his 24th and 25th of the year. Rizzo is now the National League leader in home runs and is officially “unconscious” at the plate. Rizzo went into the all-star break with 20 home runs and here we are, four games into the second half, and he already has 25 bombs. Rizzo is also 7-15 during that span and is well on his way to winning another Player of the Week award.
Yesterday also saw a lot of movement down on the farm. In the wake of Darwin Barney’s DFA, the Cubs’ promoted top prospects Albert Almora and Jorge Soler to AA (Tennessee Smokies) and AAA (Iowa Cubs), respectively. Almora and Soler, the no. 3 & 7 outfield prospects in all of baseball according to MLB.com, project to be part of the Cubs outfield for many years to come. Here are their final lines in A+ and AA:Read more... Join the Conversation...
July 23rd, 2014 at 6:00 AM
By Tim Duxbury
? 2011 Joel Dinda, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio
Arismendy Alcantara has been a spark plug for the Chicago Cubs since he was called up on July 9th and he has shown a little bit of everything out on the field. Entering Play today Alcantara is hitting .286 with four doubles, a triple, a home run and three stolen bases. He has also made starts at both second base and centerfield. Alcantara is an infielder by nature but given this week’s announcement that Javier Baez will be playing second base for the Iowa Cubs the rest of the way, it looks like Alcantara’s future lies in the outfield. The implications from Baez’s move to second base are that Starlin Castro and Kris Bryant will stay at shortstop and third base, but also that the outfield has become incredibly overcrowded. Given the news here is a projection of the Cubs’ future lineup:
1. Alcantara, LF
2. Castro, SS
3. Rizzo, 1B
4. Bryant, 3B
5. Baez, 2B
6. Schwarber, C
7. Soler, RF
8. Almora, CF
9. PitcherRead more... Join the Conversation...
July 22nd, 2014 at 5:43 PM
By Tim Duxbury
? 2012 JanFortyTwo, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio
Announced this afternoon, the Chicago Cubs will designate second baseman Darwin Barney for assignment. The move is prompted by the return of Emilio Bonifacio from the disabled list. In 72 games this season Barney was hitting .230 with two home runs and 16 RBI and, according to baseball-reference.com, had a WAR of 0.6. However, Barney had been hot as of late, hitting .385 in his last ten games.
The move comes as a shock to few as most of us expected the Cubs to move the former gold glove second baseman before the July 31st trade deadline but it is always sad to see a long time Cub go. Barney has spent his entire career (5 seasons) on the Northside and was originally the team's fourth round pick in the 2007 draft.
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