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Yankees Prospect Profile: Jake Cave

This outfielder put up back-to-back solid seasons, but can he sustain that level of play against tougher competition?

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports


The Yankees selected Jake Cave in the sixth round of the 2011 Draft straight out of Kecoughtan High School. He played in exactly one game in the Gulf Coast League in 2011 and that game ended in disaster when Cave fractured his kneecap in a collision at home plate. He went through surgery and rehab successfully, but in an extended spring training game, he started to feel sharp pain again. That turned out to be a bone fragment from his kneecap, and he had to undergo yet another surgery which ultimately resulted in Cave missing the entire 2012 season. Even though it was delayed quite a bit, Cave had a great first full season in 2013 in Low-A Charleston, hitting .282/.347/.401 in 115 games with 37 doubles and 18 stolen bases.

2014 Results

Tampa (High-A): 90 G, .304/.354/.395, 18 2B, 3 HR, 80 K, 116 wRC+, 1.8 WARP

Trenton (Double-A): 42 G, .273/.344/.455, 10 2B, 4 HR, 44K, 121 wRC+, 0.8 WARP

Cave got off to a strong start in April, and never really let up, even after he earned his promotion to Trenton. There's always talk about how Trenton's ballpark is not hitter friendly, but Cave's home and away splits for the season were practically identical, aside from the fact that he hit all but one of his home runs when playing at other ballparks. As you would expect, left-handed batter Cave hit better against right-handed pitchers, batting .307/.369/.444 for the season. Compared to the previous season, overall Cave hit for a tiny bit more power, and his strikeout percentage dropped slightly from 21.2% to 20.8% (though it did leap up to 22.3 during his time in Trenton). As far as defense goes, he committed 3 errors in 109 games in centerfield, giving him a fielding percentage of .988. Overall, it was a very successful season, and it showed that he was able to sustain and build upon his first full season in 2013.

Cave swing

2015 Outlook

After such a short stint in Trenton last season, it's likely that Cave will start the year there. The Yankees have so much outfield depth at the moment that he's one of the lower men on the totem pole, despite putting up back-to-back solid seasons. If he gets off to another strong start, he could be bumped up to Triple-A at some point, but don't count on a trip to the Majors in 2015. There would have to be some serious injuries or trades for Cave to even be brought up in any conversations, since Mason Williams, Tyler Austin and Ramon Flores are all already on the 40-man roster, in addition to Jose Pirela who can play some outfield. However, Cave did nab a non-roster invite to spring training, so we will get a chance to see him in action.