[Our draft day interview with Jake Cave back on June 8, 2011 was conducted by Nick Werner]
PinstripesPlus.com: What does it feel like to be selected by the New York Yankees?
Jake Cave: It's awesome. It's cool that everyone knows the Yankees and how good of a program it is so it's really cool.
PinstripesPlus.com: Can you tell us a bit about your game and how you feel you would fit in with the Yankees program?
Cave: I'm an outfielder and a pitcher. I've always done both and a lot of teams didn't know whether to pick me as an outfielder or left-handed pitcher and the Yankees picked me as an outfielder so I'm going out there and playing.
PinstripesPlus.com: Is there any chance of moving back to pitching?
Cave: I think the only chance of that is if I wasn't doing well but I'm hoping that's not going to happen [laughs].
PinstripesPlus.com: What are your strengths in baseball?
Cave: I think one of the things the Yankees liked was the way I play. I play hard and slide, dive and hustle in the outfield. I think as I get a little bigger and stronger as I go through the program I can develop a bit more power. I've hit some home runs but I also think I'm a gap type, doubles hitter.
PinstripesPlus.com: Is power what you are looking to improve upon?
Cave: Yeah but I think I could use to be faster in the outfield too. I'm not the fastest in the outfield. I have always gotten good reads on the ball but getting faster out there would help.
PinstripesPlus.com: And you see that as a conditioning issue, something you could work on with the team?
Cave: Yes sir.
PinstripesPlus.com: Is there someone you have modeled yourself after at the Major League level so the readers can get an idea of your game?
Cave: I have been compared a lot to Nick Markakis, especially as he came up as both a pitcher and outfielder, so I've heard that a lot.
PinstripesPlus.com: Were you surprised to be selected by the Yankees in the draft or had you been in contact with the team?
Cave: I saw people from the Yankees at most of my high school games this year so when the Yankees turn came up I was watching pretty closely. And then when the sixth round came up, I had some teams contact me before but we never really matched up so I was starting to get kind of nervous but when the Yankees came up they called me.
PinstripesPlus.com: Do you have a baseball highlight so far? I know you're coming out of high school but is there anything that stands out?
Cave: I think it was playing in the All-American game. I played 8 innings in the field and then came to the mound in the ninth and closed it out [Cave sealed the game with a 1-2-3 ninth inning]. It was the closest thing to the big leagues with the crowd and excitement.
PinstripesPlus.com: Did you have a favorite player or team growing up?
Cave: It's kind of funny but my favorite team has always been the Red Sox [laughs] and now I'm a Yankees guy so it's sort of strange. My favorite player has always been Cal Ripken Jr. I just liked the records he set, he played with integrity during the steroids era and I always respected that.
PinstripesPlus.com: What are your plans now? Do you want to sign and get started playing baseball?
Cave: I definitely want to play baseball but I'm going to talk to they guys and my advisor and work it out, but I'm looking to get out there and play ball.
[Our very first feature article on Cave was written by Michael Paonessa when Cave first signed in August of 2011]
Cave Feels Prepared
Jake Cave, who stands at 6-foot-1 and 180-pounds, played both pitcher and centerfield in his time at Kecoughtan High School in Hampton, Virginia. In his senior season he tore up the competition at both the plate and the mound.
He batted a staggering .594 with 18 extra-base hits while tallying up an impressive on-base percentage of .725. On the mound, Cave finished the season with a 6-3 record and a 1.65 ERA in his 55 innings pitched.
When the Yankees drafted Cave, the organization drafted him as a outfielder and sees him playing the outfield throughout his development. According to Cave, he would like to see himself in centerfield but is open to whatever the organization thinks is best for him.
"I got drafted as an outfielder so I would like to see myself in centerfield," said Cave. "Center kind of controls the whole field but I wouldn't have a problem playing left or right field if they wanted me to play there."
Cave has an athletic build and is known to track down many fly balls while also willing to give up his body in order to record the out. At the dish, he is a left-handed batter who to some believe Cave will be a 20 home run bat at the big league level.
Cave played in the Coastal Plains League this summer in Virginia before he signed with the team earlier this month. He played in 41 games with the Peninsula Pilots and batted .326 with 45 hits and 16 RBIs. The league consists of many incoming college freshman while also adding current college players to the mix.
While playing with the Pilots, Cave gives credit to the CPL for giving him valuable baseball experience.
"It was awesome; it helped me prepare for professional baseball a lot," Cave said. "Every game I went out and faced a college pitcher, I used a wood bat and we had a game every single day so we traveled a lot. It was a great experience."
With Cave playing in the CPL before he signed with the Yankees, he is very happy with how negotiations went, but always knew that he would sign over choosing college to play with the Louisiana State Tigers in the Spring of 2012.
"I am very happy with how everything went," Cave said when asked if he was happy with the signing process. "I had to wait a little while to sign, but I basically knew I was going to sign with the team and I'm glad with how everything turned out so I'm ready to go out and play."
Cave said that the overall deciding factor in choosing to play professionally over college was due to the fact that he wanted to pursue his dream. If he had the opportunity to play baseball as a job right away, then that's what he was going to do.
As Cave is all settled in Tampa, the whole Yankees experience has been great for him. He believes it is an honor to be drafted by a team like the Yankees and is ready to play some baseball.
"It's been a great experience," Cave said. "They have a great history within the organization so it was a big deal when I heard the Yankees drafted me."