Texas Rangers pick Kumar Rocker, former Vanderbilt baseball ace, at No. 3 in 2022 MLB Draft
Former Vanderbilt baseball ace Kumar Rocker was drafted in the first round, third overall by the Texas Rangers in the 2022 MLB Draft on Sunday night.
Rocker will reunite with his former co-ace, Jack Leiter, in Texas.
By stuff and track record, Rocker is arguably the top pitcher available, but injury concerns have plagued him ever since failing to sign with the New York Mets in 2021 at 10th overall. Rocker failed his Mets physical, then had shoulder surgery in the fall, but he was healthy enough to pitch in an independent league prior to the draft.
Rocker was one of the most decorated Commodores pitchers ever and could have been even more decorated if the 2020 season had not been cut short. The 2019 College World Series Most Outstanding Player and a 2021 All-American and Golden Spikes finalist, Rocker is most known for the 19-strikeout no-hitter he threw in the 2019 super regionals.
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After the deal with the Mets fell apart, Rocker pitched for the independent Tri-City ValleyCats, showing similar stuff to what had made him a top prospect at Vanderbilt, including a fastball that touched 99 mph and his signature slider.
Although he comes with injury concerns, Rocker has the sort of ace potential that is rare this late in the draft.
Aria Gerson covers Vanderbilt athletics for The Tennessean. Contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter @aria_gerson.