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Junior Lake
Junior Lake

Good afternoon prospect watchers. My father-in-law has been released from the hospital but is still ailing. Jeri is finally back home though, so I can get back on something approaching a normal schedule. Thank you for your patience.

***Things I am working on: articles about prospects Kyle Gibson of the Twins, Ross Stripling of the Dodgers, Zoilo Almonte of the Yankees, and Jaff Decker of the Padres. I am also working on Prospect Retros for Jeff Locke and Cole Hamels by request. The Top 150 revision and the July 2nd international signing window are also a key focus.

***Yesterday's Minor League Ball Gameday thread.

***Remember Chicago Cubs prospect Junior Lake? He has been injured much of the spring with a strained oblique, but he was activated in early June and sent to Triple-A Iowa where he is hitting quite well: .333/.372/.471 with eight steals in 10 attempts. As usual for him, Lake's aggressive approach results in a mediocre BB/K ratio (five walks, 17 strikeouts in 87 at-bats) and he has trouble with breaking balls, but his combination of power, speed, and a cannon throwing arm always stands out on the field and he's still just 23.

I think Lake is certainly an interesting prospect, but the Pacific Coast League is ideally-suited for his strengths and he could up big numbers here without actually improving much as a player.

***Returning from a shoulder injury, Seattle Mariners prospect Dan Hultzen threw six shutout innings yesterday for Triple-A Tacoma, part of a 2-0 victory over Las Vegas.

***Kansas City Royals prospect Brooks Pounders threw a nine-inning no-hitter yesterday for Double-A Northwest Arkansas, fanning six. This gives him a 4.02 ERA in 69 innings with a 57/24 K/BB ratio and 61 hits allowed. Pounders was a second-round pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2009 from high school in Temecula Valley, California. He was traded to the Royals in 2011 for Yamaico Navarro. Pounders is a 6-4, 270 pound right-hander with an 87-90 MPH fastball, a curveball, and a changeup. He isn't an outstanding prospect but he does throw strikes and has a shot at being a long relief/fifth starter type eventually.

***Houston Astros prospect Jandel Gustave threw six hitless innings for Greenville in the Appalachian League last night, walking three but fanning seven. He's given up just two runs, one earned, in 11 innings of work over two starts with a 12/3 K/BB. The 20-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic was reportedly clocked at 99 MPH last night and also has a good slider. He doesn't have a workable third pitch yet, but he bears close watching.

***Today's slate of minor league games.

***Marc Hulet at Fangraphs has a rundown of the Futures Game rosters.

***Andrew Ball at Faketeams has a Top 100 Fantasy Baseball Prospects list for mid-season.