Mets & Kumar Rocker | There’s No Such Thing As A Perfect Match

Mets & Kumar Rocker | There’s No Such Thing As A Perfect Match

Kumar Rocker won’t be rocking out in Queens after all.

The Mets and Rocker, the 10th overall pick out of Vanderbilt in the recent MLB Draft, couldn’t reach an agreement before Sunday’s signing deadline passed.

Reportedly, a deal fell apart after a physical showed issues with his pitching elbow.

 

 

 

That means Rocker won’t be a Met. Meanwhile, the Mets will get a compensation pick instead. It will be the 11th pick in 2022.

Mets fans should be heartbroken. Many thought Kumar could be the next Dwight Gooden.

Entering the 2021 season, Rocker was labeled as the consensus No. 1 pick in this year’s draft. 

He most notably put his name on the map after his performance during Vandy’s 2019 College World Series run.  Rocker threw a 19-strikeout, no-hitter against Duke, which was the first ever thrown no-no in a Super Regional.

 

 

Vanderbilt would go on to win the College World Series and would have been heavy favorites to repeat in 2020 on the shoulders of Rocker’s 1.80 ERA in three starts before the season was ended due to the Covid pandemic.

Rocker was a workhorse for the Commodores in the 2021 season.

He had a 14-4 record through 20 starts.  He pitched 122 innings and struck out 179 batters on his way to posting a 2.73 ERA.

 

 

 

He, along with second overall pick Jack Leiter – who signed with the Texas Rangers – helped lead Vandy to another appearance in the College World Series this year.

And after the final series was tied at a win a piece, Rocker was selected to take the bump in the winner-take-all Game 3.

However, he did not have command and struggled early as he only lasted 4 ⅓ innings allowing five runs on six strikeouts and taking the loss to champion Mississippi State.

That was the final start of Rocker’s college career, or so we thought.  He entered the 2021 draft and surprisingly to most expert draft boards, fell all the way to 10 to the New York Mets.

It seemed like a match made in heaven.

Rocker, who has been under a microscope of pressure since high school, is made for the bright lights of New York and their media.

He also would have a chance to join Black Knights Taijuan Walker and Marcus Stroman as African-American starters in the Mets rotation.

 

 

Brown On The Mound: Taijuan Walker & Marcus Stroman Black Ball Phillies 

 

Rocker and the Mets had an agreement on a $6 million deal but after a physical “supposedly” showed issues with his elbow, things fell apart.

However, this is where the situation gets a little dicey:

 

 

Rocker is represented by super agent Scott Boras who along with Rocker’s camp, insist that he is healthy,  according to sources.

It was also reported that orthopedists outside of the Mets’ organization disagree with the assessment that Mets’ doctors gave on the health of Rocker.

Before the draft, Rocker was selected to be a part of the MLB pre-draft MRI program which allows all 30 teams to have a player’s medical information, but since he did not participate (which is common for players going high in the draft) the Mets will be awarded the 11th overall pick in the 2022 Draft as compensation in exchange for not offering Rocker a contract.

 

Rocker’s agent Scott Boras said in a statement, “Kumar Rocker is healthy according to independent medical review by multiple prominent baseball orthopedic surgeons. Immediately upon conclusion of his collegiate seasons, he had an MRI on both his shoulder and his elbow.  When compared with his 2018 MRIs, the medical experts found no significant change. Kumar requires no medical attention and will continue to pitch in the regular course as he prepares to begin his professional career.”

That adds a whole other dimension to baseball’s rule that doesn’t allow a player to sign with any other team if they can’t come to terms on a deal.

 

 

Once again, we are left to question the decisions made by the Mets’ front office.  In addition to losing Rocker, they also sent away their 2020 first-round pick Pete Crow-Armstrong, who they drafted out of high school to the Chicago Cubs earlier this week.

Since 2016 the Mets have drafted seven players in the first round, including Seattle Mariners MLBbro pitcher Justin Dunn and top prospect outfielder Jared Kelenic.

However, only two of those picks are currently still in the organization.

Joe Ross Regulates Giants As Nats Split Series In DC

Joe Ross Regulates Giants As Nats Split Series In DC

Joe Ross is the forgotten member of the Washington Nationals starting rotation. 

Ross hasn’t been overwhelmingly dominant this season, but even during bad outings, he’s pitched well enough to keep them in games and that kind of heart and dedication to the team can’t be quantified in this new world of analytics. 

On Sunday, Ross was able to take advantage of an offensive barrage by Nationals standards early to win the matinee’ 5-0 in the District and capture a split of their four-game set against the National League West, division-leading San Francisco Giants. 

D.C.’s all but forgotten MLbbro put the Bay Area bats on ice by shutting out the Giants on five hits while striking out nine before Davey Martinez pulled him going into the bottom of the ninth inning.

 

 

Ross also became the first pitcher to throw more than seven innings against the Giants this season.  For his career, Ross is now 13-0 in 14 starts when he pitches at least seven innings.

“I felt pretty good commanding the ball,” Ross said.  “I’m just glad I gave the bullpen a little more rest today.”

Ross was just what the doctor ordered for the Nats who split a seven inning doubleheader and put a strain on its bullpen Saturday. His 3-6 mark doesn’t adequately describe his season to this point.  Ross entered with a 4.12 ERA. However, after Sunday’s performance, he has struck out 70 batters in 70.1 IP and has a WHIP of 1.25. 

Washington was staked to a 5-0 lead with help from early fireworks which allowed Ross to attack the Giants aggressively throughout the afternoon.

Fellow MLBbro Josh Harrison helped Ross out with a lethal 4-for-4 day. Ross also helped himself at the plate with three sacrifice bunts. 

Ross grew up in Berkeley, CA and played his high school baseball at Bishop O’Dowd in Oakland.  His friends, family, and homies had to wake up early to enjoy the locally televised performance that started around 10am PT. 

Those who woke up early to make the waffles and expresso will remember Sunday’s brunch with morning Joe Ross as a good spot.

RIP To Jim “Mudcat ” Grant |  The OG Black Ace

RIP To Jim “Mudcat ” Grant | The OG Black Ace

MLBbro.com is always celebrating the exclusive Black Ace fraternity and educating people on exactly what a Black Ace is.

Those conversations — about Black excellence in pitching and the pioneers of the game — always lead back to former Major League Baseball all-star pitcher Jim “Mudcat” Grant, who made it his business to chronicle how incredible an accomplishment it is for a Black pitcher to win 20 games.

Grant is the first African-American 20-game winner in the American League (Minnesota Twins, 1965) and the first African-American to win a World Series Game in the American League (1965). 

Mudcat passed away on Saturday at the age of 85, leaving MLB with another lost icon.

 

 

Via thewrap.com, “Grant spent seven seasons with the Cleveland Indians at the start of his pitching career, then got traded to the Minnesota twins in 1964 where he would go on to blossom into an ace pitcher the following season. Grant went 21-7 with a 3.30 ERA. Grant played for the Twins for four seasons and also played for the Oakland A’s, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers, Montreal Expos and Pittsburgh Pirates.

Grant retired in 1971 with a record of 145-119 and 54 saves.

Grant was born in 1935 in Lacoochee, Florida where he went on to become a two-sport athlete in baseball and football, at Florida A&M.”

 


What’s A Black Ace?

Mudcat is the leader of an exclusive fraternity that hasn’t had a member enter since 2012, when Price went 20-5 for the Toronto Blue Jays.

“The term “Black Aces,” derived from the book, Baseball’s Only African-American Twenty-Game Winners, written by Grant. 

The book is a historically accurate description of the lives of the thirteen African-American 20-game winners in the Majors that existed when the book was released in 2007.

 

The 15 Black Aces 

Canadian-born Ferguson Jenkins won 20-games or more a remarkable seven times (1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974)

 

 

Bullet Bob Gibson did it five times (1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970)

 

 

Dave Stewart did it four times (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990)

Don Newcombe (1951, 1955 and 1956), and Vida Blue (1971, 1973, 1975) both won 20 or more games three times.

 

 

Dontrelle Willis (2005), CC Sabathia (2010), David Price (2012),  Al Downing (1971), Dwight Gooden (1985), Sam Jones (1959), Mike Norris (1980), J.R. Richard (1976), Earl Wilson (1967) and of course, Mudcat Grant (1965) all did it once.

 

 

Respect Dave Stewart

Dave Stewart is the last Black pitcher to post multiple 20-win seasons. To put this into perspective, in the history of Major League Baseball only five black pitchers have eclipsed the 20 wins mark multiple times in a career.

 

 

Two of the five are in the Baseball Hall of Fame: Jenkins, who won more than 250 games in a 14-year career, and Gibson, who did it five times in a span of only six years. Gibson was so unhittable in 1968, that MLB lowered the mound to make it easier for hitters to deal with such Black dominance 

Newcombe of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who was the first black pitcher to ever win 20 (1951), and Vida Blue of the Oakland Athletics during the 1970s, each reached the achievement three times.

 

 

Price and CC are the last of MLB’s Black Aces. 

Sabathia went 21-7  with the Yankees in 2010 after signing a huge free agent deal and then leading the Yankees to their first World Series in almost a decade in 2009. Price went 20-5 as the ace workhorse for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012. 

 

 

With the way pitching philosophy and culture have changed in the past decade, we may never see another Black or Brown 20-game winner again. So we must hold all Black Aces in the highest esteem because it’s one of the rarest achievements in baseball.

We also must remember and cherish the memory of Mudcat Grant, a pioneer who endured and defeated way more than just prolific hitters, in order to secure his legacy.

We can never overlook the racism and the excruciatingly volatile circumstances that these pitchers had to perform under.

Never performing on an even playing field. Always having to be superhuman almost, just to do the simple things that their white counterparts took for granted.

Lighters, glasses, hands up in the air for a true sports icon. RIP Mudcat.

** Graphics by David Grubb

Chris Archer Returning To The Mound | Can He Add Value To The AL East-Leading Rays?

Chris Archer Returning To The Mound | Can He Add Value To The AL East-Leading Rays?

Chris Archer is nearing a return after being sidelined for almost three months.

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Archer is “feeling good and is eyeing an early July return from the injured list.”

This is a sign the Rays certainly wanted to see from Archer. Having another healthy and potentially lethal arm in an already-solid pitching rotation can be a huge benefit.

The Rays have had a lot of success without Archer, establishing themselves as the top team in the AL East. So where will the former All-Star fit in when he makes his return?

 

 

On the season, he is 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA.

Before his injury, Archer made just two appearances. His first was out of the bullpen and his second appearance was a start. 

In his lone start of the season against the New York Yankees, he had a solid outing. The MLBbro threw 2.1 innings, striking out four and giving up no runs before leaving the game because of the injury.

“I thought it was just something that kind of comes and goes, because things come and go as you start,” Archer told the Tampa Bay Times regarding the injury. “But it lingered, and I found myself altering how I was throwing a little and it just wasn’t worth it.”

“Fortunately, it’s nothing serious. But there’s definitely some tightness in there that I need to get out. So I’m glad that we took the precautions that we did. And I’m really glad the bullpen stepped up.”

Chris Archer Returns To Tampa Bay, Hoping To Reboot & Rebrand His Once Electrifying Career 

 

The two-time All-Star can make an immediate impact once he returns and silence all the critics that think he doesn’t have anything left in the tank. Even though his numbers have not been up to par the past few seasons, he can still go out there and get the job done on the mound.

Especially playing for a team that can make it back to the World Series. They will need all the pitching they can get.

If he can continue to build off his last performance, there’s no question he will add value to the rotation.

The Rays will find the right spot for Archer once he returns and they’ll keep a close eye on him as the time approaches to formulate a playoff roster.

Going into the 2021 season, the 32-year-old was ready to contribute to a team that was coming off its first World Series appearances since 2008.

Archer’s best season came in 2015 when he made his first all-star team and finished the season with a 12-13 record with a 3.23 ERA.

 

 

He made 34 starts that season and finished with 252 strikeouts, the most he’s had in a season.

Even though his career has been a roller coaster ride, he’s still in a position to help his team go deep into the playoffs if used correctly. 

Once he makes his return, Archer will be an MLBbro you want to keep tabs on.