Cougars Insider: Well-traveled pitcher Jasvir Rakkar settles in with Cougars

Cougars reliever Jasvir Rakkar has had to keep a bag packed in his second professional season.

All season long, Rakkar was the guy the Cubs organization called on when somebody needed help in one of the affiliates.

You need a guy to throw a game for Class AAA Iowa? Rakkar is your man. How about a stint at high-Class A Daytona? No sweat, Rakkar has you covered. Short-season Class A Boise needs a hand? Why not ask Rakkar?

“He’s got a lot of sky miles this year,” Cougars manager Mark Johnson joked.

Since arriving in Kane County late last month, however, Rakkar has been able to unpack that bag. He has become a big part of the Cougars’ bullpen as they make the march toward the postseason.

“I think the hardest thing is just the travel,” Rakkar said. “Other than that, it’s been pretty much the same game plan on the mound. It’s pretty much pound the zone and keep the team in a position to win the game.”

In seven appearances for the Cougars spanning 12 2/3 innings, Rakkar has not allowed a run. He has scattered five hits, walked three and struck out 11.

After the Cubs’ trade with Miami for Jacob Turner that surrendered top Cougars relievers Jose Arias and Tyler Bremer to the Marlins, he has become that much more important.

“I see a guy with some guts,” Johnson said. “I see a guy that competes on the mound and doesn’t back down. He has decent stuff and guys with decent stuff can pitch at a higher level if they have guts and some aptitude, the competitiveness. I see it out of him.”

Rakkar has been a reliever much of his career, but is perhaps best known for a spot start he made at SUNY Stony Brook in 2012 prior to being drafted in the 26th round by the Cubs.

Needing a clutch performance to keep the Cinderella Seawolves’ College World Series dreams alive, Rakkar pitched them past Central Florida to keep them alive in the tournament.

That appearance helped shed a light nationally on his interesting background. His parents, Avtar and Darjeet, moved to Brampton, Ontario, near the hometown of Reds star Joey Votto, from the Punjab region of India. They had never seen baseball. But when Jasvir was a youngster, he had an older cousin that played baseball in hockey-crazy Canada, and it stuck with him.

“We all learned together, so they’re all into it now,” said Rakkar of his parents, who have each made trips to Kane County in recent weeks to see their son pitch professionally for the first time. “They know exactly what’s going on. They’ve been having fun. They’ve been enjoying it.”

Despite all the bouncing around, Rakkar has found a home with the Cougars. Many of his Cougars teammates played with him at Boise last year.

“He’s a great guy, so he fits right in,” catcher Cael Brockmeyer said.

Now settled in, Rakkar wants to help the Cougars win a Midwest League championship.

“That’s the game plan,” Rakkar said. “That’s what we have in mind, keep everything rolling toward the playoffs.”

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