The last two years have been a whirlwind for Rangers No.8 prospect and the 2022 MLB Draft No.3 overall pick Kumar Rocker.
The former Vanderbilt Commodores star became the first pitcher to toss a no-hitter in the Super Regional round of the 2019 NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament. He also would go onto win both of his starts in the College World Series, being named MOP of the tourney.
In many aspects he was either the No.1 or No.2 pitching prospect along with teammate Jack Leiter.
After being selected No.10 overall by the New York Mets in the 2021 MLB Draft, Rocker should have been on top of the world, about to take the Big Apple by storm and join an already talented pitching staff.
— The Shadow League (@ShadowLeague) July 12, 2021
The Mets did a complete about face and Mets decided against signing Rocker due to uncertainty about his health. Shoulder concerns put Rocker under the knife in September 2021, and it’s been a long rehab back. It didn’t take long for Rocker to move off the board in the 2022 MLB Draft.
The talented bro was selected No. 3 overall by the Texas Rangers, who are elated to bring a rare talent such as Rocker into its pitching-strapped organization.
Rocker Makes MLB Debut In Arizona Fall League: Taking It Slow
Rocker took the mound in the AFL on October 4th. While the burly, power-pitching phenom didn’t have the command and control he’s used to having, he still showed that bulldog grit he displayed during his illustrious college career.
The velocity on Rocker’s pitches were there and the command will come.
Rangers/ Saguaros catcher Cody Freeman was thoroughly impressed with Rocker, and he raved about his what he has in his arsenal.
“He looked really good. He was around the zone a little bit, but he got back in there and pounded it. He’s going to be something special.”
“He’s a strike thrower and he has some nasty stuff, as you could tell.”
Rocker has ace abilities and the Rangers are hoping he could one day be that for their staff.
— MLB's Arizona Fall League (@MLBazFallLeague) October 5, 2022
Rocker Showed More Improvement In Second Start
After a promising first start, Rocker was even better in his second AFL appearance. This time tossing two innings, instead of one, Rocker was more locked in and the extra inning allowed him more opportunities to test out some of his other pitches.
He struck out two batters and walked two, the walks are all a product of rust, as he just missed the third called strike on one of the walks. His fastball hovered around 94-96 MPH and maxed out at 97.
This outing he dabbled with his change-up and his best pitch, which is his slider. The pitch he overwhelmed hitters with in the CWS and made MLB scouts salivate.
Following his performance Rocker told reporters this ….
“I was just in the zone more. The changeup was good, the slider was good. The fastball, I’m still getting the timing for that just to get everything synched up.”
Rocker says he has no expectations for his performance in the AFL. The MLBbro is just happy to be back on the mound. His minor setbacks have definitely given him an even deeper appreciation for the sport that’s provided him with so much opportunity.
“I’ve got no expectations for (the AFL). I just want to have a good time and keep winning ballgames with this team.”
Rocker is expected to take the mound four more times in the AFL, and his usage is also expected to ramp up a little more each time out.