By Michael Pagano
Who exactly is Jake Cave?
Friday night, he was the Minnesota Twin who hit for three legs of the cycle in an 11-8 win over the Tampa Rays.
Before that, Cave was a man who has had to scratch and claw his way to make it to the big leagues.
His professional career started off innocently enough; he was a sixth-round pick out of a high school in Virginia. After originally committing to play in college at LSU, he decided to sign with the Yankees.
From there Cave got hurt in his first professional game for the Gulf Coast Yankees, which subsequently cost him the rest of that season as well as all of the next season. By 2013 Cave had put himself in a hole due to the injury. Cave spent the entire season playing for the Charleston Riverdogs, the Single A affiliate of the New York Yankees, where he hit .282 with two home runs and 31 RBIs.
The next season he played in Advanced A with the Tampa Tarpons, working his way up the organizational ladder. Here he batted .304 with three home runs and 24 RBIs, which was good enough to earn him a late season promotion to the Double A Trenton Thunder, where he batted .273 with four home runs and 18 RBIs in a brief 24 game stint.
The next three years offered up some interesting trends for Cave; he got moved between Double A and Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre every year. This even included a very brief stint with the Cincinnati Reds, where he was picked up in the Rule 5 Draft, only to be taken back by the Yankees four months later.
His best season of the three came in 2017, where he batted .266 with five home runs and 18 RBIs with Trenton before moving to Scranton/Wilkes Barre and batting .324 with 15 homers and 38 RBIs. Those 15 home runs were a career high for Cave, but ultimately the Yankees traded Cave to the Twins on March 16 of this year.
After being with the Triple A Rochester Red Wings to begin the season, Cave finally achieved his dream of playing in the majors. Cave made his MLB debut May 19 against the Milwaukee Brewers, going 1-3 with a home run and two RBIs.
After being in the minor leagues for five full season before making his debut, Cave has taken advantage of his opportunity with the Twins. Cave is hitting .315 in 73 at bats for the Twins with three home runs and 12 RBIs.
“It was fun, the guys around me were having good at bats, and when guys around you are swinging the bat well, it helps you swing the bat well,” Cave said. “The last one, the triple I wasn’t even thinking, I was just you know to get on third base for somebody behind me to drive in a run.”
Cave definitely makes for an easy guy to root for with the Twins. Cave ended the night going 3-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.