3 – Who is Junior Lake, or is there even an answer?
Dalton Pompey versus Michael Saunders will steal the airtime this spring, but don’t take your eyes off of Junior Lake. Whether you see poetry or the ghost of Moises Sierra remains to be seen, but you’re guaranteed to see something.
Lake spent the entirety of his professional career with the Chicago Cubs before being traded to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Tommy Hunter at the 2015 trade deadline. At times he’s been the next big thing, and at times there have been calls to wrestle the bat from his hands permanently and try him out on the mound.
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After coming up primarily as a shortstop, Lake has since been moved to the outfield where his arm remains cannon-like in power but unreliable, much like his boom-or-bust game at the plate.
In 2015, Lake appeared in 29 rather forgettable games at the MLB between Chicago and Baltimore, but fared much better between Iowa and Norfolk at the triple-A level.
Over 292 triple-A plate appearances, Lake posted a slash line of .312 / .405 / .449. That ability to work a walk has abandoned him at the major league level, so this spring will be another opportunity for him to transition upwards. He also added seven home runs and 12 stolen bases.
Lake has all of the physical tools, and some of them know how to line up already, but he will enter 2016 as the positional wildcard.
On another roster, my optimism may be more hushed. But with a lineup that features Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, and Josh Donaldson at the heart, none of whom blossomed until their late 20s, we’ve seen stranger things happen.
Next: Which Happ have the Blue Jays reunited with?