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Jake Cave is Primed to Break Out in 2020

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#21 by jiminy

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 05:41 PM

Wow, with all the talent on this team Cave was not even on my radar! To hold his own at this stagee of his career is already impressive. But if he really can take it up another notch, that opens up some more options.

For instance, instead of trading him, we could trade someone else. If you could play him every day without a big drop off, that makes someone else expendable. It makes me much more interested in trading Buxton for Syndergaard, for example.

Kepler in center is a drop off from Buxton, but not as much as the increase in value of having a true ace in the rotation.

If either Cave or Rosario can't hack it, corner outfield is our strongest position of depth in the minors.

And If Kepler can't hold down center you've got Lewis in waiting there too.

Sure, Buxton could be a superstar, but so could Thor. I think we'd be a bigger threat in the playoffs by trading from strength and upgrading our rotation. (Assuming we extended Thor as part of the deal -- I wouldn't trade Buxton for a rental.) But this team would be truly scary with an ace, and Buxton might be the only guy that could land one. The Mets asked about him last year. Why not give them a call?
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#22 DocBauer

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 05:46 PM

While I'm not saying the final spot should go to Astudillo...I think both he and Cave will see time during the season regardless...I'm going to champion the Turtle here some.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I think he's pretty solid defensively having watched him a lot to end '18 as well as his play last season. I think he's fine behind the plate and he's been solid at noth 3B and 1B when I've seen him. In the OF, while his range is limited, I haven't seen him make a poor play that I can recall. Now, the idea of him at 2B for any reason other than emergency seems silly.

I also think he can hit and he has developed some power. He actually hit well at times in 2019, before his 1st injury and seemed to be rounding back to form before his 2nd. Something happened to his timing and whole approach somewhere along the line, however, and he was suddenly flailing and missing or making weak contact at stuff out of the zone. If he can reign that back in, he can be pretty effective.

I do believe, however, that Cave is absolutely the better and more dangerous hitter.
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#23 Platoon

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 06:08 PM

I don’t know it La Tortuga is better or worse in the OF than Jake Cave, but I do know I have not saw Turtle dive at a ball that bounces 5’ in front of him, and then jump up and chase it to the fence. That’s where Buxtons speed really shines, getting to the ball while Cave is getting up. :).  Cave is a nice back up for all three OF spots, and can hit a little. But frankly if Cave is a regular in your starting OF, your OF isn’t a strong point. 

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#24 KevinLloyd

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 06:49 PM

I personally think Cave should be the primary backup at all three outfield positions.. even over Marwin. Marwin should backup Sano at first.
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#25 Nine of twelve

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 07:24 PM

 

I don’t know if La Tortuga is better or worse in the OF than Jake Cave...

I do. Worse.

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#26 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 08:20 PM

 

One hidden and cautionary note about Jake Cave and his data from last year. His set of pitchers faced were among the weakest in baseball last year. As a group the pitchers he faced (weighted by PA) gave up an OPS of against .810. Cave’s OPS of .805 was below the average hitter facing those pitchers.

In comparison Rosario’s group of pitchers gave up an aggregate .774 OPS against to the opposing hitters and Rosario was significantly better than average at .800.

I would have been selling high on Cave this winter.

Really an interesting observation. Thanks.

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#27 Thrylos

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 08:37 PM

 

How do Twins fans Way under-value Eddie Rosario?

 

He has a career 105 wRC+, which is okay but not great, and now that Eddie's defense has completely fallen off a cliff he just isn't that good. I hope he can prove me wrong, but right now, Rosario is a below average MLB outfielder.

105 wRC+ is 5% better than the league average.This is better than Buxton's 84 career wRC+, or Gonzalez's 101, or even Kepler's 102. Cave has played only 163 MLB games in his career.And he is 27.The Twins will be served better with a RH OF on their bench.

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#28 Darius

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 09:58 PM

Really? People think Cave is better than Rosario? The Rosario stat-sheet angst has gone way overboard.

This highlight reel is from one month of 2019:

https://m.youtube.co...h?v=6EJ2IxQdvCg

So many big hits. Just go back and look at all of them throughout his career. His hot streaks can single handedly carry a team for a month.

Oh, and while any other Twins’ player folds like origami against the Yankees in the postseason, Rosario is hitting .313 with an 1.100+ OPS.

I don’t care what some of the sabremetrics say, Rosario is a gamer. Nobody in their right mind is taking Cave over Rosario when you’re talking about a big game/big series. Give me Rosario over almost anyone with the bases juiced in the 9th inning of a playoff game.
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#29 TL

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 06:46 AM

It makes me much more interested in trading Buxton for Syndergaard, for example.


I think Jiminy is on to the Twins thinking. At some point they will need to make room for the top prospects, both because payroll will climb too high and they are ready. If Buxton doesn’t sign by next offseason (or maybe this coming trade deadline) on a relatively team-friendly deal they have to move him as a key part of a package for a #1. Lewis may be ready to take over without a significant drop off, or Celestino may also be close if Lewis sticks at short.

This makes keeping a proven commodity like Cave a priority as a young guy learns the ropes and adapts to MLB pitching.
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#30 Platoon

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 07:04 AM

 

I do. Worse.

 

I do think there may be merit to your opinion, but my comment was more nuanced than the paste of a partial observation. :)  nor did I mention Jakes propensity for overrunning ground balls in the OF. Cave can run, and he has range. But the problems  start when he gets to the baseball. 

 

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#31 Riverbrian

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 07:49 AM

 

One hidden and cautionary note about Jake Cave and his data from last year. His set of pitchers faced were among the weakest in baseball last year. As a group the pitchers he faced (weighted by PA) gave up an OPS of against .810. Cave’s OPS of .805 was below the average hitter facing those pitchers.

In comparison Rosario’s group of pitchers gave up an aggregate .774 OPS against to the opposing hitters and Rosario was significantly better than average at .800.

I would have been selling high on Cave this winter.

 

You would have been selling low in an attempt to sell high. You can only sell high with Jake Cave if his sample size increases to establish value.  

 

Of course once his sample increases, those numbers you quote may look different with more stable data. 

 

How do you stabilize the data... give him starts against tougher pitchers I guess. 

 

 

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#32 JLease

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 08:19 AM

Cave might be better value than Rosario because the D is better the hitting is close and the cost is much lower, but Rosario is still the better player for now. I'm be more positive on a Cave breakout if he could hold up in CF. But for all that Cave is showing he's a better defensive player right now than Rosario...he hasn't been good.

 

It's also problematic to take rate stats and project them across a season to compare someone to a guy who actually played a full year. Players are more likely to get exposed if they're overstretched in a full season of ABs. Guys are more likely to have slumps that are driven by nagging injuries but the team needs them to be in the lineup anyways and play through it. We've never seen Cave do that in MLB; we have seen that from Rosario.

 

Cave is a useful piece, and he would have made trading Rosario less painful, but it's unclear that he's actually good enough to take the job. If he's going to be a corner guy, he need to be more consistent on D or improve the power numbers to be more than just a decent player. Because it doesn't seem like the Twins have much confidence on his ability to play CF.

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#33 jorgenswest

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 08:45 AM

You would have been selling low in an attempt to sell high. You can only sell high with Jake Cave if his sample size increases to establish value.  
 
Of course once his sample increases, those numbers you quote may look different with more stable data. 
 
How do you stabilize the data... give him starts against tougher pitchers I guess.


The Twins need to win games and use him in opportunities where he will help. There isn’t a need to get to the stabilization point so fans can see the value in slash stats. They need to see the value and make decisions about it much sooner. It would be foolish to give him playing for the purpose of making the data we see more stable.

Mid and small market teams are going to be successful if they can determine a player’s value sooner and better than others. I am hoping we have a staff that is going to win on that more often than not. By their use I don’t think they see Cave as any more than a 4th or 5th OF with the ability to option.
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#34 Riverbrian

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 09:33 AM

The Twins need to win games and use him in opportunities where he will help. There isn’t a need to get to the stabilization point so fans can see the value in slash stats. They need to see the value and make decisions about it much sooner. It would be foolish to give him playing for the purpose of making the data we see more stable.

Mid and small market teams are going to be successful if they can determine a player’s value sooner and better than others. I am hoping we have a staff that is going to win on that more often than not. By their use I don’t think they see Cave as any more than a 4th or 5th OF with the ability to option.

Under no circumstances do I want my front office or manager looking Jake Cave in the eye and telling him: We didn't give you AB's against tougher pitching last year so I hope you understand that we intend use that information against you going forward.

Under no circumstances do I want my front office or manager so cocky and confident that the conclusions they draw prior to actual performance can't be altered or adjusted or wrong.

Under no circumstances do I want my front office or manager to forget that their prior conclusions led to Logan Morrison, Martin Perez and Nick Anderson.

Under no circumstances do I want increased value to be denied based on thin or secondary statistical margins.

And under no circumstances do I want a player on the roster that has no chance of increasing value for tomorrow or helping the team win today.

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#35 saviking

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 10:53 AM

The problem with Cave is by possibly as early as late this year he has no place in our long term plans. Krilloff, Larnach, Rooker are knocking on the door. Cave plays a little too out of control always trying to be the hero. Makes bad decisions in the outfield especially when it comes to where and when to throw the ball. People forget about Rosario's arm although he started to make bad throwing decisions last year as well. 

 

If I had to guess I would say neither Rosario or Cave will be with the Twins next year ...

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#36 AZTwin

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 12:37 PM

Why do writers live below average potential players like Cave but then hate Rosario? It’s beyond bizarre. It reminds me of all the “geniuses” who thought Bobby Kielty was the next Ted Williams when I said we robbed them in that trade for Shannon Stewart
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#37 Bomba2026

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 01:10 PM

I like Eddie in Left Field and Jake puts a lot of effort into his game. He also has a good Instagram!

#38 Riverbrian

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 01:36 PM

 

The problem with Cave is by possibly as early as late this year he has no place in our long term plans. Krilloff, Larnach, Rooker are knocking on the door. Cave plays a little too out of control always trying to be the hero. Makes bad decisions in the outfield especially when it comes to where and when to throw the ball. People forget about Rosario's arm although he started to make bad throwing decisions last year as well. 

 

If I had to guess I would say neither Rosario or Cave will be with the Twins next year ...

 

There are very few things sadder than predetermined fate.:)

 

 

 

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#39 Linus

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 05:02 PM

Any metric that says Cave is an above average outfielder should be disregarded. He is not good in the field and should have been dealt in the off season if you are keeping Marwin
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#40 bobs

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 06:49 PM

Cave is an ideal 4th OF.He can run (as in pinch run).He has some occasional pop.He's at least an average OF, as noted in the article, and can provide league average defense when he's in the lineup.If we've learned anything the last two years though, it's that Cave really hasn't been that productive in a part-time roles.Where he has been better (like most players) is when he plays regularly.Perhaps Rocco can find a way to get Cave 3-4 starts per week in order to try and keep Buxton and Kepler (who was much more dinged than anyone realized the last month of 2019) healthy.




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