When the New York Mets drafted Kumar Rocker, with the 10th overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, many envisioned the power pitching Rucker as the next ace of the Mets staff.
But that didn’t come to fruition as team brass decided not to sign to the former Vanderbilt Commodores star after he failed a physical.
To this date, the injury or severity of the injury in question is unknown. But what we do know is Rocker opted not to return to Nashville, but instead work on getting his mind and body right for the 2022 MLB Draft.
— The Shadow League (@ShadowLeague) July 12, 2021
At the time of the Mets decision, Rucker’s agent and baseball’s super agent Scott Boras had this to say.
“Kumar Rocker is healthy according to independent medical review by multiple prominent baseball orthopedic surgeons. Kumar requires no medical attention and will continue to pitch in the regular course as he prepares to begin his professional career.”
Currently the 39th ranked prospect in the upcoming draft, Rocker who hadn’t pitched competitively in over a year recently joined Tri-City ValleyCats, a member of the independent Frontier League.
He’s using this as an opportunity to prepare for the draft which he is eligible to participate in.
Following his return to the mound, Rocker talked about the work he’s put in to be in position to be drafted again.
“It was a long year, a lot of work put in. I’m glad to see good results. I had a process. When I got the start date, it was attack, attack, attack — go out there and do my thing.”
That he did, tossing four innings, throwing 60 pitches, including 43 for strikes. While he did allow a two-run homer, he also struck out six batters and routinely hit high-90s with his fastball, topping out at 99 MPH. It was a welcomed sight for Rocker and all the teams who’ll have the opportunity to grab the former Vandy star. He looked healthy and in-control on the mound.
In his first start since the 2021 College World Series, Kumar Rocker went 4 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 6 K on 60 pitches. Fastball sat 94-97 mph touched 99 mph, slider was 84-86 mph, showed some cutters at 87 mph, and two changeups at 89 mph.
All pitches from the first three innings. pic.twitter.com/CoFFCrIQ2A
— Geoff Pontes (@GeoffPontesBA) June 5, 2022
His former college coach Tim Corbin, talked about his star pupil after his performance.
“He should’ve been back on the mound a long time ago. All he did for our school was compete. And I’m just glad he’s getting to play and get out there and refresh himself a little bit. He looks great.”
Rocker Has An Array Of Pitches:
The 6-foot-5 245 pounder has some nasty stuff in his arsenal, including that aforementioned fastball, plus an effective changeup, curveball and even a devastating slider at times. Team manager Pete Incaviglia, who played 12 MLB seasons and faced a ton of great pitchers, had this to say about Rocker’s performance.
“He had good command. I think he made one mistake. Everything else was really good. I was thoroughly impressed. For him to go out there and pitch the way he did with the command he had for not pitching for a year, you’ve got to tip your hat.”
Kumar Rocker's 6 strikeouts in his debut for the independent league Tri-City ValleyCats
Fastball was around 95-97 on the scouts' radar guns, touched 99. Slider was around 85-87. pic.twitter.com/YibQYHY6qA
— David Adler (@_dadler) June 5, 2022
Rocker Was Dominant In College
Rocker is the son of former NFL player Tracy Rocker so the athletic lineage is there. During his three years at Vandy he became one of the best and most complete pitchers in college.
He tallied a 28-10 record, with a 3.35 ERA and 321 strikeouts over 236 innings. The strong-armed Rocker even tossed a 19 K, no-hitter during the 2019 Super Regionals with the Commodores facing elimination. For his efforts, Rockers was voted a consensus All-American, All-SEC and Most Outstanding Player in the College World Series.
Since the Mets didn’t want this generational talent, some MLB team is gonna get real lucky July 17-19 at this year’s MLB Draft.