The Chicago Cubs placed outfielder Brian Bogusevic on the 15-day disabled list Friday after aggravating his left hamstring. He has been in and out of the lineup with tightness in that hamstring since July 4th, when he came out of their game against the Oakland Athletics in the third inning. The team called utility man Junior Lake up from the Iowa Cubs, their Triple-A affiliate.
Brian Bogusevic started off the year at Triple-A Iowa. In 78 games there he had a .319 batting average with 10 home runs, 16 stolen bases, and a .418 on base percentage. He got called up to Chicago after David DeJesus suffered a shoulder injury in a game against the New York Mets. Bogusevic has played in 13 games with the big league club, and in that time he has a .261 batting average with an on base percentage of .277. He hasn’t exactly been a key player, but he has done a decent job filling in for his injurred teammates.
Bogusevic is one of many Cubs players to get sidelined by an injury this year. As of right now (including Bogusevic) there are eight Cubs on the disabled list, three of them being outfielders.
Junior Lake is 23 year old rookie, who was signed by the Cubs as a non-drafted free agent in February 2007. Baseball America rated him as the 15th best prospect in the Chicago Cubs organization this preseason. He primarily played shortstop when he started playing professionally, but with Starlin Castro blocking his way to the bigs, Lake has spent time playing more third base as well as seeing more action in the outfield.
Earlier this month, I was able to catch an Iowa Cubs game in person. In that game, Junior Lake went 3-4 with a double, two triples (one of which hit high off of the wall, just short of a home run), and scored two runs. As if that weren’t enough for him, he also made two fantastic diving stops playing third base. Needless to say, this guy really impressed me that night.
Lake started out the season on the disabled list after getting injured during spring training. But in the time that he has played, he has proven that he should be given a shot at the next level. In 40 games with Triple-A Iowa, Lake hit .295, stole 14 bases, and flashed plenty of leather. His .341 on base percentage would be the fifth best on the major league Cubs.
Junior Lake could be a very good fill in guy right now for the Chicago Cubs. His ability to play the infield and outfield gives him an opportunity to get a lot of playing time, especially with the outfielders disappearing via injury or trade (unless you’re Nate Schierholtz, who just isn’t getting any playing time at all). And with Kris Bryant not coming to the show in a few years, Lake can have an opportunity to get quality playing time at third base and establish himself as a part of the franchise’s future.
One last note: In his major league debut Friday night against the Rockies, Lake went 3-4 at the plate with a double and a stolen base. He also ran into a wall, but don’t worry. He’s fine.