Thursday, October 17, 2013
Jake Cave: American Hero
As I started doing my wrap-up of the Yankees MiL season, I ran into two problems. 1) I kept drinking myself to sleep and 2) I didn’t have much to say that Mike hadn’t already covered. So instead, I’d like to move onto doing a bit of a more in depth recap of the selected players Mike and I profiled earlier this year (spoiler: I kicked Mike’s ass).
Jake Cave: A Yankee “Success“ Story
When I left you with my ebullient profile of Cave, he had played 12 games and posted a decent line of .283/.339/.377. 103 games later, Cave ended his first full professional season (at the age of 21 and at A-) with a really solid .282/.347/.401 good for a .347 wOBA and 117 wRC+. Most importantly, he improved as the season went on (mostly). It makes you wonder a bit where he would be if he hadn’t lost 2 full seasons to injury.
Cave may have started the season on fire crushing the ball to a .976 OPS for 7 games in April, but his performance tumbled in May to a disappointing .644. Fortunately, unlike most Yankees prospects this year, Cave made significant strides in is development this year. He peaked in June with a power spike driving him to a .791 OPS, and while we hasn’t able to match his June power spike, his OBP and average did improve in both July and August. From a guy who missed his first 2 potential pro seasons due to injury, his ability to perform and improve so quickly is impressive.
Overall this year, Cave tallied some solid numbers, racking up 37 doubles and 6 triples. Clearly his speed is still playing up despite his knee injuries, and he didn’t just display it while hitting, he also stole 18 bases. But, not everything was rosy, his line was buoyed by a pretty high .362 BABiP, although with his speed, it is reasonable to expect a consistently above average BABiP.
Strike outs are a bit of an issue as he posted a 21% K rate as a 21 year old in A-. Since he has limited experience, there is some hope for the future. The strike out issue plays into his other rather obvious issue, his complete lack of power. Yeah, the guy smacked 40+ non HR XBH this year, but only 2 HRs and only barely broke 400 points of slugging. That’s not good.
Cave basically performed as advertised, aside from his power, and it came a year late due to injury. Overall, you have to be pretty happy with his year. The Yankees challenged him with a full year in low A for his first minor league assignment and he made contact, got on base, played good defense and stole a bunch of bases. The nice thing about power is that it can take some time to manifest itself in-game, so there is still hope.
I want to compare Cave to Gardner, because the numbers are similar, but the comparison isn’t really apt aside from the lack of power. Gardner had a mediocre hit tool and nonexistent power, but good discipline and elite level speed. Cave displayed an average to above average hit tool, average discipline, below average power and good but not great speed. I also want to compare him to Ramon Flores, except that Cave can hit, run and field, none of which Flores can do.
I don’t think that Cave will ever really crush the ball, but I do think he can show more power than he did this year. I was happy to see him play the rest of the game well, and while I’m not banking on his discipline improving as much as his power might, I do think there is a chance that with more experience he can display improved plate control as well.
Without further ado, I’ll post my tool ratings.
|Tool||Current Grade||Future Grade|
Also, Cave has a twitter: https://twitter.com/JakeCave8
Mike’s year in review of Bryan Mitchell will be up soon. He’s putting the final touches on it.
Also, Mike may not have been told that there was a competition
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