The Cubs are going to find out if Junior Lake can develop his game in the big leagues.
Lake will be promoted from Triple-A Iowa when the Cubs put outfielder Brian Bogusevic (hamstring) on the disabled list, a team source confirmed Thursday. So as the Cubs open the unofficial second half on Friday at Coors Field against the Colorado Rockies, they will be taking a look at one of the organization’s freak athletes.
Lake is 6-foot-3, 215 pounds and still only 23 years old after signing for $110,000 as a teenager in the Dominican Republic, a few months after Starlin Castro. Together they played on the same Dominican summer league team in 2007. They became roommates in Arizona for rookie ball the following year.
Lake’s still raw, with only 40 games of experience at the Triple-A level after fracturing his rib during spring training. But he was hitting .295 with four homers, 18 RBI and 14 stolen bases at a time when the Cubs are losing outfield options.
Last week, general manager Jed Hoyer said the Cubs wanted Lake to get consistent playing time. In many ways, the front office is trying to model the organization after the St. Louis Cardinals, who have created flexibility with players like Matt Carpenter, Allen Craig and Daniel Descalso.
“A big part of (Lake’s) value is I think he can play infield and outfield,” Hoyer said. “He’s such a great athlete. I don’t know where he winds up at the end. But if he winds up as a guy that can move around a lot, there’s a ton of value for those guys.
[RELATED: Focus turns to Rizzo, Castro]
“The Cardinals always show that when you have those guys that are so versatile, it makes your team a lot better. From that standpoint, he’s an exciting piece of the future.”
This could be the beginning of the auditions that will define the Cubs after the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.