Rocker was previously drafted by the New York Mets with the 10th overall pick in last year’s draft but after further evaluation, decided not to sign Rocker and therefore allowed him to be eligible for this year’s MLB Draft.
Rocker began his baseball career by attending the University of Vanderbilt where he was among the best collegiate pitchers in college baseball. During his time at Vanderbilt he went 28-10, 2.89 ERA with 321 strikeouts on 236.2 innings pitched in three seasons. After going un-signed in last year’s draft, he decided to play independent baseball and signed with the Tri-City Valley Cats so he could be eligible for this year’s draft. While pitching for the Valley Cats, he went 1-0, 1.35 ERA with 32 strikeouts on 20 innings pitched.
The Texas Rangers selected Kumar Rocker with the third overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft
The Rangers are pretty familiar with Vanderbilt pitchers after selecting Jack Leiter in last year’s draft. By drafting Rocker, that allows the Rangers to pair up Rocker and Leiter and it bolsters their starting rotation in the future while helping their pitching overall.
Rocker has an injury history, but the Rangers decided that it was worth risking their third overall pick on him. Looking at it on paper, however, this is a tremendous pick. Rocker should be ready for the big leagues sooner rather than later and that’s probably why the Rangers decided to take him: because they are looking for players that are ready to be called up soon. They can also save money by taking him under slot value.
Drafting Rocker helps the Rangers stick with their rebuilding plans as they will soon be ready to compete for the playoffs for years to come. We will see how Rocker fares in the minor leagues but should adjust well given his experience in the independent league.
Rocker shouldn’t take that long in the minor leagues but we will see how he does and he should fit in perfectly with the Rangers, hopefully anchoring this rotation long-term alongside Jack Leiter.