Former Vanderbilt RHP Kumar Rocker, Mets 2021 First-Rounder That Didn’t Sign, Joins Independent Team

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Former highly-touted Vanderbilt RHP Kumar Rocker has agreed to sign with a professional baseball team.

Not in MLB, but rather the Frontier League, an independent baseball league that serves as a MLB Partner League. Rocker is the newest member of the Tri-City ValleyCats and will pitch for them until the 2022 MLB First-Year Player Draft, which will commence on Sunday, July 17 in Los Angeles as part of the All-Star Game festivities.

Rocker, 22, was selected by the Mets with the 10th overall pick in last year’s amateur draft, but was the only player among the first 29 picks who failed to sign. Initial reports said that the Mets and Rocker had agreed to an over-slot bonus of $6 million, pending a physical. That examination revealed concerns about Rocker’s shoulder and elbow and New York backed out of the deal.

Rocker had the option to return to Nashville for his senior season, but opted not to. He’ll now have two months to show scouts that not only is he healthy, but that he looks every bit the part of the star that shined at Vanderbilt.

In three seasons on the mound, Rocker went 28-10 with a 2.89 ERA and 321 strikeouts. The ace of the Commodores’ rotation, Rocker hurled a no-hitter with 19 strikeouts against Duke in the 2019 NCAA Super Regional and led the program to a national title victory that same season.

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Written by Nick Geddes

Nick Geddes is a 2021 graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. A life-long sports enthusiast, Nick shares a passion for sports writing and is proud to represent OutKick.

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  1. I didn’t really understand why he chose not to go back to play for Corbin when this all went down, unless he “was” injured and needed to have that addressed. You could tell last year something was off. His velocity was noticeably down a few clicks from the year prior, and you would expect it to stay the same or increase with a dude built like a safe. I hope his arm is healthy now, because when he was 100% he was unbelievable. Last year he wasn’t even 100% and was still a top 10 pick. If he’s back someone will get the steal of a lifetime.

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