MLB Draft Profile: Kumar Rockerby Rephael Negnewitzky July 6, 2022 0 comments
Kumar Rocker is a two-time draftee and now embarking on a third trip to the Los Angeles draft. A graduate of North Oconee High School in Bogart, GA, where he established himself as a top pitching prospect in the 2018 Draft, Rocker passed up on the Rockies’ offer and proceeded to Vanderbilt where he spent the next three seasons. The Mets were fortunate to select the flamethrower in 2021 (No. 10 overall), yet an apparent medical issue called off the signing process.
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Kumar Rocker, RHP, Tri-City ValleyCats (Formerly Vanderbilt)
Weight: 245 lbs.
2019 Stats: 22 G, 16 GS, 99 2/3 IP, 12-5, 3.25 ERA, 1.094 WHIP, 21 BB, 114 SO
2020 Stats: 5 G, 3 GS, 15 IP, 2-1, 1.80 ERA, 0.933 WHIP, 8 BB, 28 SO
2021 Stats: 20 G, 20 GS, 122 IP, 2.73 ERA, 0.934 WHIP, 39 BB, 179 SO
The Vanderbilt graduate has had a bumpy road throughout his amateur career despite his clear talent, from tossing a no-hitter in the 2019 NCAA Super Regionals to a restriction of just flashing his stuff in the Frontier League (Tri-City ValleyCats). Although, Rocker has vastly improved year by year and is set up for a successful future. The 22-year-old played a vital role in the Commodores 2019 National Championship which Rocker received College World Series Most Outstanding Player. Additionally, his freshman accomplishments were commendable as he was named Baseball America Freshman of the Year.
Rocker flaunts a four-slot arsenal which is practiced with a broad 6’5″ frame. A four-seam that tops 99 at times but hovers in the mid-90s along with a mid-80s slider that works as his put-away pitch. The former Commodore then incorporates a low-80s curveball which induces a great deal of swings and misses. Rocker sprinkles in a mid-80s changeup which could be a plus in his pro career.
The youngster has an impressive command of the zone but occasionally gets out of hand. Putting 114 batters away by strikeout with a 3.25 ERA in his freshman year was only the beginning of his collegiate career. Following the shortened 2020 season, Rocker surpassed his strikeout record and punched out 179 batters in his junior season.
The flamethrower falls behind the count at times and fails to climb back. While it may not be a long-term concern, it’s definitely something to take note of. He hit seven batters and was responsible for 21 walks allowed in his freshman season. Nonetheless, while it may be a struggle, Rocker is relatively accurate and may just cut down the length of his outings.
Pro Comparison: Cristian Javier
While Javier’s 6’1″ build is unmatched by Rocker’s 6’5″ frame, their styles are quite similar. The Astros’ stud presents a four-pitch repertoire that is identical to the budding prospect. With a fastball sitting in the low-90s and a slider which he throws at a 27.1 rate, Javier also practices a changeup and curveball which Rocker operates at a similar speed.
Draft Projection: Late First to Early Second Round
It has been quite the journey for the right-hander and things are looking bright. While a top-10 pick is out of the picture, the youngster is likely to hear his name towards the end of the first round. This may not have been the path that Rocker had in mind, however this could be his chance to reach the big leagues.
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