by, Will Thompson
During the 2017 season, the Cotuit Kettleers found what every successful team needs, a dominant late-inning reliever. Brian Rapp was that guy for the Kettleers, but it was a situation that he did not expect to be put into from the start. After his junior year at Boston College, the righty thought he had done enough to get drafted, only to not receive a call that day.
“All indications were that I was going to go pro after my junior year,” Rapp said. “When I didn’t get that call, it was devastating.”
His time in Cotuit did not get off to a good start either, allowing four earned runs while recording just one out in his first start. Rapp mentioned how that outing was such a big moment for him and that he learned a valuable lesson that day.
“It was probably the worst outing of my life,” Rapp recalls. “I was all over the place and just trying to impress the scouts there and prove people wrong. That was a humbling moment for me and a great learning moment. It didn’t matter that I was a starter in the ACC and had some success. Every time I went out there, I had to perform against whoever was facing me.”
He added that “Coach Roberts got into me a bit after that outing but once I got another chance, I didn’t relinquish it and became one of our best relievers down the stretch.”
That he did, posting a 1.96 ERA as a reliever after his first outing and helped lead the Kettleers to another winning season. Rapp looked back fondly on his time in Cotuit and specifically talked about how his host family, the Analetto family, helped him immensely during that summer.
“They were incredible and I am still really close with them to this day. I couldn’t have asked for a better host family and they really helped me feel at home in Cotuit,” Rapp said.
After his summer in Cotuit, Rapp went back to Boston College for his senior season and excelled, posting a 3.57 ERA in 12 starts. After the disappointment of not being drafted the year before, Rapp finally received the long awaited call from the Minnesota Twins, who selected him in the 28th round.
“Hearing my name called was the happiest moment of my life,” Rapp said. “I was with my parents and my girlfriend (now fiancee) and everyone started crying tears of joy. You put your whole life into it and that’s every kid’s dream growing up, to hear their name called. You want to have that opportunity to continue to chase your dream.”
After he was drafted, Rapp was assigned to the Elizabethton Twins, Minnesota’s advanced rookie ball affiliate. He put up great numbers there as well, posting a 3.52 ERA in 10 appearances (6 starts) and helped lead the Twins to an Appalachian League title.
“That was a great experience for me to learn the professional game that summer and it was such a surreal moment to win a championship with the guys you came in with and some of them are still my closest friends to this day.”
After spending the 2019 season in Class A Cedar Rapids, Rapp, like so many other minor leaguers, has had his season turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic that led to the cancellation of the minor league season. Since being sent home from spring training in March, Rapp has worked hard to stay in top shape to be ready for next season.
“The Twins are a world class organization and they have really been on top of everything from the start,” Rapp said. “Every day I have check-ins with my trainer so they can see how my body is doing and I talk to my strength coach and pitching coach every other day so they can put together a program for me. It’s not easy and it definitely tests your willpower, but it’s a grind you have to love if you’re going to make the most of your time in professional baseball.”
Looking back on his summer in Cotuit, Rapp expressed how much he enjoyed his time there and how it helped him become the player he is today.
“It was an awesome summer. We had a great group of guys who were really fun to hang out with. Also being around other talented guys taught me different ways to attack certain hitters and new pitch grips. It was a blast but I learned so much from my time in Cotuit.”