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Better know your Blue Jays 40-man: Junior Lake

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He seems happy (and pretty skinny).
He seems happy (and pretty skinny).
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays picked up Junior Lake, off waivers from the Orioles. We were so excited, the thread turned into a bunch of jokes about his name. Apparently there is a Junior Lake on Vancouver Island, or perhaps someone is playing games on Wikipedia.

Lake is an outfielder. He's played 201 MLB games, hittnig .237/.278/.377 with 16 home runs, 31 walks, 207 strikeouts, 15 steals with 7 caught stealing. Kind of the numbers that will get you on the waiver wire.

He's played all three outfield spots, and, since Gibby has said that he will give preference to an 4th outfielder candidate that can play center field, it's worth noting that he's played 503 major league innings in center. But, by UZR's reckoning, he's been pretty lousy, putting up a -39.6 UZR/105 career. So he plays center in much the way you would imagine Chris Colabello playing center. He does have a good UZR in left, 18.2 in 709 innings.

If he doesn't want to have his name appear on the waiver wire again, he's going to have to have a good spring.

So far, it isn't happening. He's hitting .214/.313/.286, with 1 walk, 1 strikeout and 3 stolen bases. He did made a nice catch in center, in a game that was on MLB.TV  and he threw out a runner going first to third on a single. Those things, and the 3 stolen bases do stick in a manager's mind.

What does surprise me is that Junior made it all the way to the majors without being all that great in the minors. In 9 minor league seasons he has a .275/.330/.414 line. He does have 131 steals, but that's offset by 56 times caught stealing. He had pretty good numbers in Triple A. .299/.374/.447 in 127 games, but that was mostly in the PCL, where hitting .300 is kind of a baseline.

If he wins the 4th outfielder job, I'm pretty sure I'll be unreasonably upset, for a little while, until I realize it won't make all that much difference, but I'd rather they pick a 4th outfielder that I won't hate seeing out there a couple of times a week.