With rumors swirling about the Cubs trading various veterans they’ve decided to call up 23-year-old Junior Lake from Triple-A, where he was hitting .295 with four homers and an .803 OPS in 40 games.
After playing shortstop for most of his career Lake shifted to third base this season and has also seen action in the outfield, with general manager Jed Hoyer telling Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com that the Cubs want to increase his defensive versatility.
Lake has never been considered a top prospect, in large part because of his poor plate discipline and strike zone control, but he’s also been young for every level of competition, offers very good speed, and has shown some upside offensively overall.
The Cardinals have selected right-hander Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, the club revealed Saturday. It’ll mark the first career Opening Day start for Mikolas, who is scheduled to go up against the Brewers when the team hits the road on March 28.
The 29-year-old righty was a strong contender for the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, earning All-Star distinctions and pitching to a career-best 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 4.3 fWAR over 200 2/3 innings. He’s positioned to lead the Cardinals rotation in 2019 as well, with former Opening Day starters Carlos Martínez and Adam Wainwright and some combination of right-handers Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and John Gant behind him.
Manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, and Martínez had all been considered for the honor, but admitted that Opening Day honors were ultimately handed to Mikolas “in recognition of [his performance] last year.” The Cardinals are scheduled to play a four-game set against the Brewers to start the season and will stop over in Pittsburgh for another two games before returning to St. Louis for their opening homestand against the Padres on April 4. Additional pitching assignments have yet to be announced.