The Minnesota Twins have received great performances from outfielder Jake Cave and he has earned himself consistent playing time in the process.
The Minnesota Twins were first intrigued by outfielder Jake Cave almost a year ago around the 2017 trade deadline. At that time the Twins front office was discussing a return for one start wonder Jaime Garcia. The New York Yankees weren’t willing to part with Cave yet, but this summer the opportunity to acquire Cave presented itself again and the Twins pounced on it.
After speaking as highly as the Twins front office did about Cave it always seemed a bit strange their perceived reluctance to play him over Ryan LaMarre. The Twins have had plenty of need for a center fielder with Byron Buxton‘s struggles with injury and batting performance in 2018. Just as the Twins appeared to be full-out sellers, Cave has received his opportunity to play and has been a spark plug for the major league team.
At 25 years old, only a year older than Buxton, Cave still has plenty of time to continue to develop into a major league regular. Last season in Triple-A as part a part of the Yankees organization, Cave slashed .305/.351/.542 and hit 20 home runs. Fans have now seen that hitting ability on display a few times and most recently as Friday night as Cave almost hit for the cycle.
Beyond his bat, Cave has also proven to be a very good defensive outfielder. It will always be hard to live up to the prowess of the likes of Buxton in center field, but Cave has already made some highlight reel grabs of his own.
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As long as Buxton is around, it will be hard to say that Cave will be the Twins center fielder of the future. If he continues to perform the way he is there are a few guys on the Twins roster that may want to look over their shoulder a bit.
One of those guys is 4th outfielder and designated hitter Robbie Grossman. If Cave proves to hit, he has better speed and is, of course, a much better fielder which would hopefully put him ahead of Grossman as the teams 4th outfielder. Fortunately for Grossman, he owns his own hot stretch in the month of July slashing .387/.457/.613.
If we are honest, if Max Kepler slips back into the funk that plagued him for much of the season he may be looking over his shoulder as well. Like Grossman, he has thankfully been picking things up at the plate as well. Kepler may also have enough of a track record or faith in his potential to fend off being replaced on the major league roster.
Cave has proven to be very valuable for Twins. Hopefully, his performance continues to earn him a spot in the starting lineup of for the foreseeable future. His acquisition may turn into one of the best finds by the Twins front office yet.