The Chicago Cubs embark upon the 2014 season after an off-season that saw the team made little changes to the Major League roster. In 2014, the Cubs will hope for improvement from their position players and pitching staff after a 2013 season that saw the team lose 96 games.
Junior Lake was a sight for sore eyes in 2013 for Cubs fans. Lake was a prospect that earned a reputation for himself among Cubs fans while progressing through the Minor League system. Meaning when Lake was brought up to the Major League level during the second half of the season, many Cubs fans embraced the idea that the youth movement was finally getting closer.
After the Cubs traded left fielder Alfonso Soriano, Lake assumed full-time duties with team in the outfield. Lake finished the 2013 season hitting .284/.332/.428 in 254 plate appearances to go along with a wOBA of .335 and a wRC+ of 109.
Lake proved to be an effective left fielder for the Cubs in 2013 as the 24-year old outfielder recorded a UZR of 5.8 in left field.
Lake will start the 2014 season as the Cubs starting left fielder. Though, the question remains over what type of player Lake will be in the long-term for the Cubs. Lake was certainly an effective everyday player for the Cubs last season, though most projections still have him as a part-time player in the long-term.
2014 will go a long way in determining what type of player Lake is. This season will be the first full-season that Lake will have at the Major League level. By comparison, that was the same thing said about first baseman Anthony Rizzo last season and some perceived that Rizzo took a step back in 2013.
It may only be natural for Lake to regress in his first full-season with the Cubs. In any event, Lake will have 162 games to prove his long-term value to the Cubs.