Junior Lake posted impressive surface stats in his first taste of The Show, but should fantasy players be eager to draft him in 2014?
If you’ll forgive me an absolutely cliché start to an article, a lake effect is defined as “a meteorological phenomenon in which warm moist air rising from a body of water mixes with cold dry air overhead resulting in precipitation especially downwind—usually hyphenated when used attributively” per Merriam-Webster. Similarly, if you’re a Cubs fan, this article might be raining on your parade, after the rookie put together an impressive debut season. Sure, Lake put together a .284/.332/.428 slash line over 236 at-bats, adding six home runs and four stolen bases. He looks the part, standing 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, and displays incredible athleticism in the field. Lake came up through the minors as a shortstop, then as a third baseman, but he’s settled in to the majors as an outfielder, making his starts in left and center field for Chicago.
Ben Carsley mentioned Lake as an option for the hot corner in Chicago in his Hot Corner Conundrums article, and while that would certainly be a boost to his fantasy value, I’m not sure we can bank on that happening. Lake couldn’t crack a third base rotation that included Luis Valbuena, Cody Ransom and, wait for it, Donnie Murphy this season. So it might be a tall task to get the requisite numbers of appearances there next season, when there’s a chance that Javier Baez might be playing there. Even if it’s not Baez (that would be an aggressive move), it could be Christian Villanueva, Valbuena again or anyone else who could actually provide defensive value, which Lake can’t. So while it’s not unreasonable to hope for some sweet, sweet infield eligibility, counting on it would be foolish.
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Ben wades through a handful of uncertain third-base situations to help fantasy owners plan for 2014.
Some would say that forecasting 2014 rosters in September 2013 is a fool’s errand. These people either a) don’t know fools, b) don’t run errands, or c) don’t play in dynasty leagues. For as any experienced owner knows, if you’re not already thinking about your keepers for 2014, you’re doing it wrong.
With that in mind, now is as good a time as any to take a look at five tenuous third-base situations around the league. While there are some potential future fantasy studs listed below, many of these youngsters face uncertain playing time and roster security headed into next year.
Scouts' takes on Lucas Giolito, Ubaldo Jimenez, Jason Kipnis, Chris Owings, and other interesting players.
Many of our authors make a habit of speaking to scouts and other talent evaluators in order to bring you the best baseball information available. Not all of the tidbits gleaned from those conversations make it into our articles, but we don't want them to go to waste. Instead, we'll be collecting them in a regular feature called "What Scouts Are Saying," which will be open to participation from the entire BP staff and include quotes about minor leaguers and major leaguers alike.
When we talk about "impact" rookies, it's important to note that several rookies will be getting the call to the majors and failing to help their team in any way, shape, or form. Coming up with a few big hits or making a couple of quality starts, however, could make a big difference at the end of a 162-game season. Here are some NL Central rookies who I think can make an impact on their team's success in 2013. Click HERE for my NL East picks and HERE for the AL East..
Only a few baseball games going on around the world on Monday so some of the prospects on this list are fringier than usual. The most interesting game was in the World Baseball Classic qualifying round as Brazil knocked off Panama, a team with major leaguers Carlos Lee, Carlos Ruiz, and Ruben Tejada, and former big leaguers Ruben RiveraandRamiro Mendoza. Twenty-six year-old Rafael Fernandes, who allowed 10 ER in 12.2 innings with nine walks and four strikeouts for the Yakult Swallows in Japan last season, tossed two-hit ball over six shutout innings for the Brazilians while their lone big leaguer, Yan Gomes, knocked in Royals minor leaguer Paulo Orlando with an RBI single to account for the only run scored in the 1-0 victory. One other note of importance -- Brazil is being managed by Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin. Who says baseball season is over?