FARMINGTON — For the second time in as many days, a former Piedra Vista player has been drafted by a Major League Baseball team.
A 2013 PV graduate, Jacy Cave was selected in the 19th round of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks Wednesday after playing two seasons for the New Mexico Junior College Thunderbirds. Cave said he will sign with the Diamondbacks and fly out to Arizona today to attend a team mini-camp.
“It's always been my dream to play professional baseball, and now I get to chase it at the next level,” Cave said in a phone interview Thursday. “I get to do what I love every day.”
Cave joins Dominic Moreno as the second member of PV's 2011 4A state championship team to be drafted this year. Moreno was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the eighth round on Tuesday.
“We won state titles in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014, and Jacy was right there in the middle of that for us,” PV Baseball Coach Mike McGaha said. “So that obviously tells you how big a part he was of our run.”
The right-hand hitting outfielder said he actually didn't think he performed well during his senior season at PV and his freshman year at NMJC, but he really turned the corner at a March tournament in El Paso this year.
“There were a bunch of scouts at a series in El Paso, and I thought, ‘Man, if I do something good, maybe I'll get a look,'” he said. “That weekend, I hit three home runs in four games, so I kind of stood out.”
Cave broke out in 2015 for the Thunderbirds, hitting .491 with 20 homers, 81 RBI and 13 stolen bases over 57 games. McGaha said the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Cave has a lot of power — so much so, he has been compared to a current Washington Nationals star.
“In talking with various scouts around the country who have actually gotten to see our guys over the years, I've heard Jacy compared a lot to Bryce Harper from a power standpoint,” he said. “From a scouting standpoint, I can honestly say he is a plus-power guy.”
On the heels of his breakout season, Cave began to put a backup plan in place in the event he was taken very late in the draft or if went undrafted by exploring some NCAA Division I schools. McGaha said he reached out to his contacts and collected three Division I offers for Cave, including one from the University of Utah. This would have allowed him to transfer and play on a bigger stage in his junior and senior seasons.
When Cave got word from the Diamondbacks that he'd be picked, he said he knew right away he would sign. He also said he appreciated everything the NMJC coaches did for him.
“Coach Josh Simpson and Jake McCarter were on me every single day, making sure I was doing whatever I could at all times to get better,” Cave said. “They really put their time into us, and it seems like even if you went 4 for 4 in a game, it still wasn't good enough. You still had to get better. So that was really my drive my whole sophomore season.”
Off the field, Cave said McGaha helped mold him into the person he is today.
“McGaha's been a super-influential person in my life, and we hardly ever even talked about baseball,” he said. “It was more about the type of person you are and how you approach life every day, because, ultimately, you're the one that controls it. He's always led me down the right path.”
Cave said his performance at minicamp this weekend will determine whether he heads off to Class A Short-Season or rookie ball, both of which start in late June.