Throughout the 2016-17 offseason, Fish Stripes is counting down the top 100 Marlins of all-time. For comparison’s sake, we are using the Wins Above Replacement (WAR) metric as a measuring device. The top 100 WAR ratings are being featured. Today’s Marlin, Patrick Leland Rapp, earned 5.5 over his five seasons with Florida.
Rapp, a 6’3”, 195 lb. right-handed pitcher from Jennings, Louisiana, was born on July 13th, 1967. In 1989, the San Francisco Giants chose him in the 15th round of the amateur draft, with the 388th overall selection. The only other players chosen that round to ever appear in the major leagues were George Tsamis (-0.6 WAR) and Kurt Abbott (0.6 WAR).
Rapp got up to the major league level with the Giants in 1992, and started twice while appearing once in relief. He allowed eight earned runs on eight hits and six walks over 10 innings, striking out three batters and getting left unprotected in the amateur draft following the season. That’s where the Marlins picked him up, with the 10th overall pick.
Rapp joined the Marlins in their first ever season, but started the year with the Edmonton Trappers in the triple-A Pacific Coast League. He posted an 8-3 record over 17 starts, with a 3.43 ERA and a 1.142 WHIP. The Marlins called him up in mid-July to take Luis Aquino’s spot in the rotation. Aquino’s style was better suited to the bullpen, in the same way that the current Marlins use David Phelps, whereas Rapp started 239 games over his major league career, versus 20 relief appearances.
With the Marlins in 1993, Rapp, started 16 games and struck out 57 batters in 94.0 innings. He racked up a 4-6 record, a 4.02 ERA and a 4.05 FIP, along with a 1.498 WHIP. His best start of the season was on September 27th, when he earned his final win by pitching eight four-hit innings in a 3-1 win against the Montreal Expos.
Rapp went 7-8 over 24 games in the next season for the 51-64 Marlins, with a 3.85 ERA, a 1.508 WHIP, and a 4.98 FIP, whiffing 75 in a team-second 133.1 innings (David Weathers pitched 135.0 innings and went 8-12 over 24 starts). On June 3rd, Rapp struck out four and allowed only an unearned run over 8.1 innings, earning a 5-1 victory over the San Diego Padres. Two weeks later, he earned a no-decision against the St. Louis Cardinals, allowing four hits over eight innings of a 2-1 loss. His best start of the season came on July 22nd, when he struck out eight over a complete game, three-hit shutout against the Colorado Rockies. His only other complete game that season came in his very next start, a nine-inning, 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.
1995 may have been Rapp’s best major league season. He went 14-7 in 28 starts for the 67-76 Marlins, striking out 102 in 167.1 innings, earning a rotation best 3.44 ERA, a 4.15 FIP, and a 1.398 WHIP. The month of September was clearly the best month of Rapp’s career that season. On September 7th, he threw his first complete game of the season, striking out five and limiting the Braves to four hits in a 5-1 Marlins victory. 10 days later, he threw his second complete game of the season, striking out seven Rockies in a one-hit shutout as the Marlins whitewashed Colorado, 17-0. Rapp’s next start, also a shutout, would see him strike out six Mets and allow four hits as the Marlins claimed a 3-0 victory. In his final start of the season, his next after two consecutive shutouts, would see him strike out eight and give up three hits over seven innings to defeat the Expos, 9-3.
In 1996, Rapp posted an 8-16 record for the 80-82 Marlins, collecting 86 K’s over 162.1 innings with a 5.10 ERA, a 4.81 FIP, and a 1.694 WHIP. On April 19th, he struck out four over seven shutout innings, allowing three hits in a 5-0 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers. On June 10th, he pitched seven shutout four-hit innings, striking out five in a 5-2 win against the Expos. ON July 26th, he struck out seven over seven shutout three hit innings in a 3-0 loss to the San Diego Padres. Somewhat indicative of his season, his three best performances of the year were all no-decision affairs.
1997 would see Rapp make 29 starts for the Marlins prior to the trading deadline, and post a 5-8 record in 141.2 innings, with a 4.83 ERA, 92 K’s, a 4.91 FIP, and a 1.624 WHIP. On April 11th, he threw a five-hit shutout in a 10-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds. 11 days later, he had the worst game of his career, allowing 10 earned runs on 13 hits and two walks over 2.2 innings as the Rockies took home a 13-4 victory. On July 18th, the Marlins traded Rapp to the Giants for Brandon Leese and Bobby Rector.
The Marlins, 55-39 at the time of the trade, went a nominally worse 37-31 down the stretch after dealing Rapp, but still managed to win their first of two World Championships. Rapp went 1-2 for the Giants, with a 1.758 WHIP and a 6.00 ERA over six starts for San Francisco to close out that season. He went on to play a season each with the Kansas City Royals (32 starts, 12-13, 5.30 ERA, 132 K’s in 188.1 innings, 1.673 WHIP), the Boston Red Sox (26 starts, 6-7, 4.12 ERA, 90 K’s in 146.1 innings, 1.476 WHIP), the Baltimore Orioles (30 starts, 9-12, 5.90 ERA, 106 whiffs in 174.0 innings, 1.644 WHIP), and the Anaheim Angels (28 starts, 5-12, 4.76 ERA, 82 K’s in 170.0 innings 1.412 WHIP). He retired after failing to make the cut with the Pittsburgh Pirates out of spring training in 2002. Rapp is 10th on Miami’s all-time leaderboard with 37 wins.