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 Glenn Guilbeau

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