StaTuesday: Jake Cave just 11th Twins player to homer in MLB debut

Welcome to the big leagues, kid.

Outfielder Jake Cave made his major-league debut Saturday with Joe Mauer ailing, subbing in for center fielder Byron Buxton, who has struggled at the plate recently. The 25-year-old made the most of the chance, hitting a two-run homer in just his second at-bat.

He teed off on Milwaukee Brewers rookie Freddy Peralta’s first-pitch fastball in the fourth inning, lining a rocket into right field at 111.4 mph for his first career hit.

“It was everything I thought it would be and more,” Cave told FOX Sports North’s Audra Martin a day later. “It was cool, it was a great feeling.”

Cave’s family was on hand for his debut. Their reaction might have been the best part of the whole affair.

They had plenty of reason to celebrate: debuts like that don’t happen every day. Cave is just the 11th player in Twins history — the 14th, if we’re counting the Washington Senators — to homer in his debut. He’s the first Twins player to do it since Eddie Rosario homered in his first career at-bat back in 2015.

Player Date Tm Opp AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO
Jake Cave 5/19/2018 MIN MIL 3 2 1 0 0 1 2 0 1
Eddie Rosario 5/6/2015 MIN OAK 4 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 0
Luke Hughes 4/28/2010 MIN DET 4 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1
Andre David 6/29/1984 MIN DET 4 1 1 0 0 1 2 0 1
Gary Gaetti 9/20/1981 MIN TEX 3 1 1 0 0 1 2 0 1
Tim Laudner 8/28/1981 MIN DET 3 1 2 0 0 1 2 1 0
Kent Hrbek 8/24/1981 MIN NYY 5 1 2 0 0 1 2 0 1
Dave McKay 8/22/1975 MIN DET 3 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 0
Eric Soderholm 3/9/1971 MIN OAK 2 2 1 0 0 1 1 1 0
Hal Haydel 7/9/1970 MIN MIL 3 2 2 1 0 1 1 0 1
Rick Renick 7/11/1968 MIN DET 4 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 0
Morrie Aderholt 9/13/1939 WSH CHW 3 1 2 0 0 1 1 0 0
Pete Susko 8/1/1934 WSH PHA 5 2 2 0 0 1 3 1 0
Danny Taylor 6/30/1926 WSH BOS 4 3 3 0 0 1 1 1 0

Even across the broader major-league landscape, it’s a rare feat. Cave is the first rookie to homer in Game 1 this season, while just six players did it last year. Overall, he’s the 235th player to do it since 1908.

Moving forward, Cave’s outlook with the Twins is a little nebulous. Originally drafted by the New York Yankees in 2011, Cave was acquired by the Twins for minor-league pitcher Luis Gil back in March after he was designated for assignment.

Currently the Twins’ 25th-ranked prospect per MLB Pipeline, Cave has been pretty productive in the minors, and is seemingly a solid fourth outfielder behind the “nothing falls but raindrops” crew of Rosario, Buxton and Max Kepler. With spring-training standout and fellow outfielder Ryan LaMarre on the way back to Minnesota after spending some time with Triple-A Rochester, Cave’s first stint in the big leagues could be brief.

Statistics courtesy of baseball-reference