In this edition of ESNY’s New York Yankees Prospect Profile, we take a look at speedy outfielder, Jake Cave.
After Jake Cave was drafted by the New York Yankees in the sixth round of the 2011 MLB draft, he decided to follow the MLB path and sign a $800,000 contract with the Bombers.
Fast-forward two seasons, Cave is currently ranked as the number 23 overall prospect in the Yankees system and the seventh best outfield prospect according to Pipeline.
Also according to MLB Pipeline, in high school, Cave was a left-handed pitcher who had a fastball that topped out at 94 mph. Despite the strong skills as a pitcher, the Yankees desired him more as a hitter which led them to draft and convert him in 2011.
Cave is not a player that relies on one particular skill for his success, he is a very balanced player who can hit well with some power as well as decent speed and a solid glove.
Take a look at what scouts have to say about the rest of his skills:
Scouting grades via MLB Pipeline: Hit: 50 / Power: 40 / Run: 55 / Arm: 50 / Field: 50 / Overall: 45
As seen by the grades, Cave is a multi-tooled asset that is average to above average in all of his skills. He has started to show more power as of late, and his spray chart shows he is able to use the entire field to his advantage.
Cave split the 2016 season switching off between centerfield and left field. Scouts believe that due to the excellent arm strength and great speed, Cave has the ability to play all three outfield positions well.
He began his professional career in 2011, the same year he was drafted. In his first game with the Gulf Coast League Yankees, Cave fractured his kneecap in a collision at home plate which forced him to miss a significant amount of time.
The outfielder was forced to miss the rest of the 2011 season as well as all of the 2012 season. It was a very serious injury that many believed it would be tough to recover from, fortunately, he was able to make a successful come back in 2013.
Cave would spend his 2013 campaign with the Charleston River Dogs. With Charleston Cave would return to action making a huge impact on the team, in 115 games Cave would have a slash line of .282/.347/.401. Absolutely remarkable for a player returning from a serious injury.
To tag along with the phenomenal offensive return, he made an impact on the field as well. Throughout the year he would have a vacuum as a glove in center with a fielding percentage of .992.
Following an impactful 2013 season, Cave would receive a promotion in 2014 and split time between Tampa and Trenton. In 132 total games, Cave batted .294/.351/.414. At this point, the organization started to realize that Cave was a special talent.
Most of the left-hander’s 2015 season was spent in Trenton where he would put up his usual solid numbers. Late in the season, he was called up to the Yankees Triple-A affiliate, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders. In just seven games with Scranton, Cave batted .458 which included four extra-base hits.
Cave was selected by the Reds in the 2015 Rule-5 draft but then he did not make the Reds opening day roster. Therefore, he returned to the Yankees on April 5, 2016, in a very short-lived departure.
Once again, in 2016 Cave would split his year between Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Trenton. He performed well in a season where we saw a dip in stolen bases, but we also saw an increase in home runs. Despite the regular season success, the postseason is where we would see the lefty shine.
During seven postseason games with the RailRiders, Cave would bat .348/.464/.565 which included a home run and four RBI’s. He would prove to be a vital piece to Scranton’s playoff hopes, helping them win the Governors’ Cup which is the International League Championship.
Due to the success Cave would have in the four-game set, he earned the MVP award.
Ironic enough, the series ended with Cave catching a fly ball in the outfield and kicking off the celebration. So, with all of this success when should we expect to see Cave in the big leagues?
Despite an MLB ETA of 2016 according to Pipeline, it seems unlikely we will see Cave in pinstripes this season. However, Cave does seem major league ready and if all goes well he should be playing in the Bronx sometime next season.