.294/.351/.414 7.5% BB% 20.2% K% .119 ISO .367 BABIP 12/18 SB -1 DEF
Cave ranked #14 on Chris Yankees top 100 list.
Jake Cave was selected in the 6th round of the 2011 amateur draft. He played one game of rookie ball that year, and then missed all of 2012 because of a fractured kneecap. When he finally got back on the field in 2013, Cave did a nice job in Charleston, posting a 117 wRC+ as a 20 year-old. He was still behind the likes of Mason Williams and Slade Heathcott in the Yankees’ center field prospect hierarchy, but it was a solid full season debut.
Last year, Cave torpedoed past Williams and Heathcott. While the latter two dealt with poor performance and injuries, Cave made his way to Double-A with a pretty good offensive performance. In 416 plate appearances in High-A Tampa, he hit to the tune of a 117 wRC+. He virtually repeated that performance after a promotion to Double-A Trenton with a 116 wRC+ in 197 trips to the plate. It wasn’t all rosy, though. The strikeout and walk rates leave a bit to be desired, but speedy center fielder put himself on the prospect radar and earned a Colby Rasmus comp. Certainly the Yankees would take that outcome.
What KATOH says
Chris’ projection system doesn’t like Cave at all, likely because of the strikeout and walk rates I previously alluded to, plus his below average power. So even though it looks like he held his own between High-A and Double-A, KATOH thinks his chances of simply making the majors is a coin flip. Simply put, mediocre plate discipline and fringy power don’t usually translate well at the big league level.
Cave was assigned to Double-A this month, which was to be expected. He still could use a little more time at the level even though he was pretty good there last season. Jake could be in line for a move to Triple-A before the year ends, depending on a couple of circumstances: (1) obviously, his performance and (2) the outfielders at the level above. With Ramon Flores, Tyler Austin, and Slade Heathcott all likely to start in the Triple-A outfield, there’s not much playing time to share with Cave unless one of them gets called up and/or injured. Given Heathcott’s injury history, there’s a pretty good chance an opportunity arises for Cave at some point this season in Scranton.