Will Chicago Cubs' Junior Lake Get Any ROY Votes?

By Thomas Kohs
Junior Lake
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, Junior Lake hit his first career grand slam against the Milwaukee Brewers. The home run helped the Chicago Cubs defeat the Brewers 8-5.

Lake has had a great start to the month of September. He has a .364 BA, four hits, and four RBIs in just 11 AB. Lake has been playing great since he made his MLB debut on July 19. Lake has easily been the most exciting  Cubs player to watch this season. Since his debut, he has played 45 games, has 55 hits, five HRs, and a stellar .299 batting average.

Cubs fans are hoping that Lake is foreshadowing the potential that the rest of the farm system holds.

The 22-year-old is currently filling the left fielder void that was created when the Cubs traded Alfonso Soriano to the New York Yankees. Soriano had started in left field for the Cubs since 2007. The loss of Soriano has been significant, but has allowed Lake to blossom into an everyday player. Lake consistently has found himself batting either sixth or seventh in the lineup, and the role is paying major dividends.

If his success continues, he could find himself batting higher in the order next season to help take off the pressure from Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro.

As of today, September 7, Lake has taken 184 AB. Under MLB rules, a player is considered a rookie upon taking 130 AB. This makes him eligible for the NL Rookie of the Year Award.

Of course, the clear favorite and most deserving NL Rookie of the Year candidate is Yasiel Puig. Puig has had a better peak than Lake, but both have adjusted relatively the same. In both of their second months of playing in MLB, Puig and Lake hit .287. Puig had three HRs and seven RBIs while Lake had two HRs and six RBIs.

While Puig’s peak performance was significantly better than Lake’s peak performance, their consistent performance has been very similar to one another.

Before Puig arrived, the Los Angeles Dodgers were struggling to stay at .500. Since his arrival, they have surged to the top of the NL West and have become World Series favorites. Based on the drastic improvement of the Dodgers, he should win NL Rookie of the Year by a landslide.

However, don’t be surprised if Lake gets some votes.

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