Kettleers in the Big Leagues
By: James Middleton | West Chester University
Cotuit has become a hotspot for baseball talent during the summers. With the likes of Chase Utley, Steve Pearce, Tony Kemp, and Kendall Graveman all playing at Lowell Park before making it to The Show. This past MLB season, the Ketts had seven former players make their MLB debut, Jason Delay, Terrin Vavra, Peyton Burdick, Cal Stevenson, Michael Toglia, Hunter Brown, and Noah Davis.
When speaking with Head Coach Mike Roberts about what he saw in these former Ketts, it was more about how they carried themselves off the field. “Each one of these young men showed great overall maturity and a true love for the game,” Roberts said. “For them to accept my twice-a-day early season practices without complaining proved to me how much they enjoyed being on the field,” said Roberts.
Jason Delay was the first Kettleer to make it to the majors this past season when he debuted for the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 14th. Delay played for Cotuit in 2016, playing in fifteen games at Lowell Park. The catcher returned to Vanderbilt University, one of the top baseball programs in the country, after the summer season. After his 2017 season with Vandy, the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Delay in the fourth round. The righty bat spent four and a half years in the minors before finally breaking into the MLB this year. With just the one appearance in June, Delay had to wait to notch his first hit, which he got in his second-ever appearance against the Reds on July 7th. The Pirates catcher accumulated a batting average of .300 in forty at-bats during the month of July.
Forty-five days later, Terrin Vavra broke into the show. On July 29th, Vavra made his major league debut for the Baltimore Orioles. The second baseman played for Cotuit in the 2017 Cape League season. After the summer ball season, Vavra returned to the University of Minnesota. The Colorado Rockies initially drafted the Golden Gopher in the third round of the 2018 draft. Vavra spent four seasons in the minors and played for eight different teams during that time. The Orioles second baseman would have to wait a bit for his first hit, but on August 1st, he got his first hit which started a steady month where he hit .262.
Up next was Peyton Burdick, making his debut on August 5th for the Miami Marlins. The outfielder played for Cotuit during the 2018 Cape League season, playing in thirty-eight games for the Kettleers. After a good summer ball season with Cotuit, Burdick used that momentum when he returned to Wright State. The righty bat hit for an outstanding batting average of .407 in his final season with the Wolves. The Marlins came calling in the third round of the 2019 draft. Burdick spent two and a half years in the minors before it was his time for the show. Two days after his debut, Burdick drove one over the ivy at Wrigley Field for his first major league home run.
Five days later, Cal Stevenson got the call to the show. In 2016, Stevenson played for the Ketts, where he appeared in thirty-seven games during the summer. The lefty bat returned to the University of Arizona for the final two seasons of his collegiate career. The outfielder got the call from the Blue Jays in the tenth round of the 2018 draft. Stevenson spent four seasons in the minor leagues with seven different teams. On August 10th, the Arizona product made his debut for the Oakland Athletics. It didn’t take long for him to notch his first hit either; in his first game, he roped a ball to the shortstop, which was then too difficult for a play at first.
Michael Toglia got his call to the majors at the end of August. Toglia spent his summers in Cotuit in 2017 and 2018. The switch hitter returned to UCLA after both of his stints in the Cape. Out of high school, Toglia was drafted in the thirty-fifth round by the Colorado Rockies. After three years of college ball, he was finally eligible for the draft again, and it paid off in a huge way. The Rockies again drafted Toglia in the 2019 draft, but this time he was selected in the first round and was the twenty-third overall pick. The first baseman spent two and a half seasons in the Rockies farm system before making his debut against the Braves. The following day, Toglia put together a monster day where he had a single, homerun, and two RBI’s in four plate appearances.
The final two Ketts to make their appearances were two pitchers, Hunter Brown and Noah Davis. Brown made his debut for the World Series-winning Astros on September 5th, and Davis made his debut on October 5th for the Rockies. Brown spent his 2018 summer in Cotuit before returning to Wayne State in the fall. The right-hander was drafted in the fifth round of the 2019 draft. After three seasons in the minors, Brown got the call to join the Astros. During his time with the Astros, he appeared in seven games and managed a record of 2 and 0. Davis was with Cotuit during the 2017 season and appeared in five games. The Cincinnati Reds drafted the 6’2 right-hander in the eleventh round of the 2018 draft. Davis spent three seasons in the minors with Cincinnati and Colorado before pitching in the show.
It didn’t surprise Roberts that these former Ketts made it to the MLB, and it was nothing but congratulations from the Cotuit skipper. “They persevered through the difficult minor league system of Major League Baseball to reach their baseball dream. Congrats to each former Kettleer player for making their MLB debut in the 2023 season.”