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.
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