Nick Raquet Finds Success As Pro Starter
It hasn’t taken long for lefthander Nick Raquet to become a consistent factor as a starter in pro ball.
The 6-foot, 215-pound Raquet was a third-round pick last year after he had an up-and-down junior season at William & Mary. Before he joined his younger brother on the Tribe, he had to sit out a year after transferring from North Carolina, where he pitched just 6.1 innings as a freshman.
Now Raquet can be counted on to go six or more innings in a majority of his starts at low Class A Hagerstown. He had done that in seven of 10 outings (and four in a row) to improve to 3-4, 2.31 with 40 strikeouts and 14 walks in 51 innings. He had similar success in 2017 at short-season Auburn, where he went 3-2, 2.45 in 51 innings.
"He’s been the one guy in the rotation we know gives us a chance to win every fifth day,” said Hagerstown pitching coach Tim Redding, who also coached Raquet with the Doubledays last summer. "The guys seem to play well behind him. He works quick, and the fact that he throws so many pitches and has the ability to use his offspeed for strikes, guys are always on their toes.”
In college, much of Raquet’s success was in summer ball in the Northwoods and the Cal Ripken leagues. He was pitching for the Baltimore Redbirds in 2015 when he took a visit to William & Mary, where his brother Brandon was about to begin playing as an outfielder.
"I thought (going to William & Mary) was a good opportunity—the best option to further my career,” said Raquet, who is within 20 credits of earning a finance degree. "And it was obviously really nice to play with my brother for the one year that I got to. I’m very grateful for the opportunity they gave me there, being able to still practice with the team and feel like I was part of the team from day one.”
While Brandon was second-team all-Colonial Athletic Association as a freshman, Nick solidified his draft stock by striking out 95 in 77 innings. However, the lefty from State College (Pa.) High also walked 45 and ran up a 4.66 ERA.
Since college, Raquet has transitioned his slider into a cutter. The 22-year-old also relies more on his changeup and throws a four-seam fastball, two-seamer and curveball.
"I’ve come a long way with my changeup,” he said. "That wasn’t always the most fun pitch to throw when I was younger, but when you get older you realize it’s such a nice pitch to have in your back pocket.”
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>> Outfielder Juan Soto, who started the season as one of Raquet’s teammates in Hagerstown, jumped from the Suns to high Class A Potomac to Double-A Harrisburg to the big leagues. He became the youngest major leaguer to hit a home run since now-teammate Bryce Harper, and he was off to a .326/.415/.522 start through his first 14 games.