Why Kumar Rocker was announced from Farragut after being selected in MLB Draft 2022

Nick Gray
Knoxville News Sentinel

Kumar Rocker, from Farragut, Tennessee?

That's the case for the former Vanderbilt star pitcher who was surprisingly selected No. 3 overall in the 2022 MLB Draft by the Texas Rangers.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Rocker from the East Tennessee town when announcing the selection Sunday night.

Rocker's listed hometown on Vanderbilt baseball's website is Athens, Georgia, near where he attended high school.

Rocker's dad, former Tennessee football assistant Tracy Rocker, was the Vols' defensive line coach from 2017-19. Tracy Rocker moved on to South Carolina and the NFL after the 2019 season, but the family kept its Farragut residence. 

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Kumar Rocker is annonunced as the third pick of the 2022 MLB baseball draft, by the Texas Rangers, Sunday, July 17, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Kumar Rocker was working out in Farragut last fall, Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin said last year, and continued to be based there throughout his training over the last year, working toward Sunday's draft.

Rocker was selected No. 10 overall in the 2021 draft by the New York Mets but was unsigned after concerns about the health of his right arm. Rocker returned to the mound last month in the Independent Frontier League and showed fastball velocity in the upper 90s in five appearances. 

Several mock drafts had Rocker as a mid- to late-first-round pick, noting his uncertain medicals and the quantity of competitive pitching appearances over the last year. The Rangers, who drafted former Vanderbilt star Jack Leiter in the first round last season, threw those narratives right out of the window by selecting Rocker third overall.

Rocker played two seasons at Vanderbilt, helping the Commodores to a College World Series title in 2019 as a freshman phenom.