03/22/2021 5:11 AM
Bryce Jarvis (Cotuit '18) SportsPix Photo
Article By: Taylor Viles
On Cape Cod, most baseball players learn if they have what it takes to crack a major league roster someday. The fierce competition combined with only the best collegiate athletes creates an atmosphere for scouts to weed out the “great” from the “good.”
Sometimes though, the Cape acts as just another step in a long path to reach the major leagues. A step that is a tremendous experience for growth, but not necessarily the deciding factor. This was the case for Bryce Jarvis when he suited up for the Cotuit Kettleers in 2018.
The right-handed pitcher came to Cape Cod after his freshman year at Duke University where he compiled a 2.45 ERA with five wins over 25 appearances, most of which came in relief.
His longest appearance in a Kettleer uniform is the one that continues to stay with him three years later. “It was a Friday afternoon, crazy atmosphere, and a packed house,” he said. “I threw really well. I think that was kind of just the ultimate Cape experience for me.”
That pitching performance on July 27 gave Jarvis his only win of the summer in a 6-5 decision over Orleans. He allowed three hits and one run over five innings.
Jarvis pitched 28.2 innings for the Kettleers during his only season at the Cape. With a 5.33 ERA in 10 games, he knew he needed to do more to stand out against the elite hitters who able to connect with his fastball.
Originally he was planning on returning to Cotuit the following summer, but following a slight rise in his ERA during his sophomore season at Duke, he opted to go a different route.
“It just kind of came down to going through the draft process after my sophomore year,” said Jarvis about not returning to the Cape. “Getting a taste of that process and getting a feel for where I stood as a professional prospect, opened my eyes to the fact that if I didn't go out and really improve...and build on the things that I did as a pitcher...the next year wasn't going to go the way that I wanted it too.”
He spent the 2019 summer working on his craft in both Washington state and Massachusetts. The Washinton facility helped him to work on the fundamentals of pitching and the Massachusetts one taught him to focus on his strength.
“I didn't necessarily have the blow you way [velocity]. So I had to learn how to be a pitcher first; how to mix pitches, change speeds and hit locations.”
Jarvis put on an additional 20 pounds of muscle which he utilized with his newfound techniques. “[It translated] into four to five miles an hour...and helped me have the short season that I did in 2020,” said Jarvis.
The decision to focus on the basics of pitching instead of playing organized baseball that summer proved to be the right one as he shone during the 2020 collegiate season. In four appearances, all starts, Jarvis went 3-1 with a 0.67 ERA and 40 strikeouts. During his second start of the spring, he pitched a perfect game, striking out 15 batters. Jarvis recorded over 10 strikeouts during his final two starts, going seven innings in each.
His lights-out work on the mound led to him being selected 18th overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2020 draft. It was a day Jarvis had been waiting for his whole life but wasn’t sure where teams stood on him because COVID-19 made any preconceptions uncertain. Although he had enjoyed conversations with the Diamondbacks organization, he wasn’t sure what to expect. “I wouldn't say they were at the top of where I thought I was gonna go, but it doesn't always go how you expect it to,” he said.
According to Jarvis, the summer he chose to spend working on his pitching showed MLB teams his dedication. “It had a big impact on why they took me because they understood that I knew how to take all the information that was out there...and funnel all of that into my daily routine,” he said. “I think being able to discern what works for me and how to build a program, stick to it and really commit to it is something they really valued in me.”
Soon after getting drafted, Jarvis learned he was placed on Arizona’s 60-man roster. “We were scrimmaging every day... There were 30 of us that stayed at our spring training site in Scottsdale, Arizona. When the big league team would go out of town, we would move into the [their] stadium in Phoenix to play,” he said. “That was an awesome experience.”
This spring, Jarvis heads down again to the team’s spring training site for an accelerated spring due to COVID-19. Following that, Jarvis will be placed on a minor league team to begin his professional baseball career.
Although coming to Cape Cod may not have been the deciding factor in Jarvis getting an opportunity to play professional baseball, it helped him develop into a better all-around athlete he says.
“I think it's going to shape the way I look at offseasons throughout my career in terms of really hammering down the mobility, hammering down the strength, and not only maintaining the gains that I made in that offseason but building on them and taking them even further,” he said. “I think that is honestly one of the biggest lessons I took away from that summer.”