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With the MLB Draft quickly approaching, it’s time to take a look at Kumar Rocker and see if he’s a legitimate choice for this year’s event.
One of the most hyped prospects in last year’s MLB Draft, Kumar Rocker entered the draft with sky-high expectations. Coming off of a highly successful Vanderbilt career, he threw a 19-strikeout no-hitter and was named the 2019 Baseball America Freshman of the Year and was viewed as a legitimate first-round pick type of player.
Once the 2021 draft came around, Rocker fell all the way to the 10th overall pick in the first round and was selected by the New York Mets. Both team and player had a verbal agreement in place that would land Rocker a $6 million signing bonus which would have been $1.4 million above the slot value for the 10th pick.
To the surprise of many, the Mets decided against making him a formal offer, citing issues with his medical reports. Since Rocker had not participated in the program that would have made his medical information public knowledge ahead of the draft, the Mets were taking a chance on him by drafting him but ultimately saw enough to decide against signing him.
2022 MLB Draft: Will Kumar Rocker be drafted?
After the fiasco in last year’s draft, Rocker elected not to return to Vanderbilt after going unsigned and instead continued training and eventually signed with the Tri-City Valley Cats of the Frontier League.
Rocker’s presence on the roster provided some publicity to the Valley Cats while giving him a shot to show scouts and the industry as a whole that he’s healthy and ready to go for this year’s draft.
The 22-year-old right-hander was utterly dominant in his five-start stint in the Frontier League, showing that he is very much ready to go for this year’s draft. In a total of 20 innings, Rocker went 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA and 32 strikeouts. Remarkably, he surrendered just two home runs and four walks in that time. His 14.4 SO/9 is more than enough proof that he’s healthy and ready to latch on to an MLB organization.
Rocker has regularly been at the back-end of the first round in typical mock drafts.