Clayton Anthony Rapada
- Bats Right, Throws Left
- Height 6' 5", Weight 200 lb.
- School Virginia State University
- High School Deep Creek High School
- Debut June 14, 2007
- Final Game September 22, 2013
Undrafted out of Virginia State University, pitcher Clay Rapada signed with the Chicago Cubs in 2002 and made his pro debut that summer with the Boise Hawks, posting a 1.50 ERA in 12 outings. After splitting the following season between Boise and the Lansing Lugnuts, he spent the entire 2004 campaign with Lansing, going 6-6 with a 2.33 ERA, 91 strikeouts, and 3 saves in 57 games to earn a spot on the Midwest League All-Star squad.
Rapada moved up to the Daytona Cubs in 2005, and was 1-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 27 games with the club. He saved 21 games for the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx in 2006 and earned a spot on the Southern League All-Star team before being promoted to the AAA Iowa Cubs in June and going 3-2 with a 3.04 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 28 games for the club. He was back with Iowa most of the next summer, saving 17 games in 55 outings, and earned a brief call-up with the Cubs in June, appearing in one game and retiring the only batter that he faced, Raul Ibanez of the Seattle Mariners.
On August 30, 2007, Rapada was traded to the Detroit Tigers in a deal that brought Craig Monroe to the Cubs. He was assigned to the Toledo Mud Hens and appeared in two regular season games and one playoff game for them. Afterwards, he was recalled by the Tigers in September and appeared in four late-season games for them. He split the 2008 campaign between the Tigers and the Mud Hens, spending three different stints in the majors during the course of the year. He did not allow an earned run in his first eight big league outings and notched his first major league win on April 15th against the Minnesota Twins.
He would spend parts of seven seasons in the majors, going 8-0 with a 4.06 ERA in 152 games, working only 93 innings altogether. Used as a LOOGY, he faced 257 left-handed batters and 138 right-handed batters.
After spending all of 2014 and 2015 in AAA, he announced he would retire after playing for the Philippines national team in the 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers in February 2016. Though the team had three former major leaguers (fellow Filipino-Americans Chris Aguila and Eric Farris were also present), they were eliminated in two games, finishing last in the pool behind host Australia, South Africa (no players with MLB experience) and New Zealand (one former major leaguer). In his lone game, he relieved J.R. Bunda in the third against Australia, with one on and one out, trailing 2-1. He retired six of the first seven batters he faced but then Stefan Welch walked, Luke Hughes singled and Trent Oeltjen hit a two-run double for a 4-1 deficit before Austin Haynal relieved.
Rapada became a pitching coach with the Augusta GreenJackets in 2016-2017.