Vanderbilt Pitcher Kumar Rocker Is 1st SEC Player Taken in MLB Draft At No. 3 After Being Taken At No. 10 Last Year by Mets

After not coming to a signing agreement with the New York Mets last year and playing five games in the independent Frontier League, former Vanderbilt pitcher Kumar Rocker was the first Southeastern Conference player taken in the Major League Baseball Draft on Sunday night.

Rocker, who pitched briefly with the Tri-City ValleyCats in Troy, New York, of the independent Frontier League this summer, was the No. 3 pick of the draft by Texas. Rocker was 28-10 with a 2.89 ERA with 321 strikeouts in 236 and two-thirds innings in 2019-21 for Vanderbilt. He was 12-5 with a 3.25 ERA with 114 striketous in 99 and two-thirds innings in 2019 when the Commodores won the national title.

Rocker reportedly agreed to a $6 million deal with the Mets last year, but that changed when shoulder and elbow issues were discovered after a physical. The Mets then left the table.

The first SEC player taken in the first round who played in the 2022 league season was LSU third baseman/outfielder Jacob Berry with the sixth pick by Miami. Berry hit. .370 last season with 15 home runs for LSU after transferring from Arizona when his coach, Jay Johnson, left to become LSU's coach.

The first player taken in the 2022 MLB Draft was high school shortstop Jackson Holliday of Stillwater, Oklahoma, by Baltimore. Holliday is the son of seven-time Major League All-Star Matt Holliday, who is Oklahoma State's hitting coach.

The second player taken was outfielder Druw Jones of Wesleyan High near Atlanta by Arizona. He is the son of former Atlanta Braves' outfielder Andruw Jones.

Other SEC players taken in the first round were Vanderbilt outfielder Spencer Jones at No. 25 by the New York Yankees, Tennessee outfielder Drew Gilbert at No. 28 by Houston and Florida outfielder Sterlin Thompson at No. 31 by Colorado.

Other picks in the top 50 were Mississippi State pitcher Landon Sims at No. 34 by Arizona, Tennessee outfielder Jordan Beck at No. 38 by Colorado, Florida pitcher Hunter Barco at No. 44 by Pittsburgh, Alabama left-handed pitcher Connor Prielipp at No. 48 by Minnesota and Arkansas third baseman Cayden Wallace at No. 49 by Kansas City.

Other selections were Tennessee pitcher Blade Tidwell at No. 52 by the Mets, Mississippi State catcher Logan Tanner at No. 55 by Cincinnati, Arkansas pitcher Peyton Pallette at No. 62 by the Chicago White Sox and Florida outfieler Jud Fabian at No. 67 by Baltimore.

The draft continues Monday at 2 p.m. on the MLB Network with rounds three through 10 and wraps up on Tuesday at 2 p.m. with rounds 11-20.

Written by
Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests. A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention. Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at, and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.