Skip to main content

Former Vanderbilt right-handed pitcher Kumar Rocker went unsigned by the New York Mets and has agreed to terms with the Tri-City ValleyCats of the Frontier League, Jeff Passan reported on Friday.

The Frontier League has no affiliation with Major League Baseball, meaning Rocker will be eligible for the 2022 MLB draft starting on July 17.

Assuming Rocker checks out health-wise and performs up to standards with the ValleyCats, he could be an incredible addition to the Philadelphia Phillies' organization. The 22-year-old stands at 6’5", weighing 245 pounds and is nothing short of a beast.

Rocker dominated in his three seasons at Vanderbilt, finished with a 28-10 record, and pitched 236.2 innings with a 2.89 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 321 strikeouts.

He utilized a three-pitch mix for the majority of his collegiate career until implementing a curveball more recently in 2021 that forces a lot of bad contact, ground balls, and whiffs. His mid-90s fastball pairs well with a changeup that releases from a similar position out of his hand, making it difficult for batters to detect. The slider is Rocker’s best pitch, falling on a vertical axis with movement like a curveball, while the baseball spins in a spiral motion.

Scroll to Continue

RECOMMENDED ARTICLES

Rocker made a name for himself quickly as a starting pitcher at Vanderbilt University. As a freshman, he pitched a 19-strikeout no-hitter and won Most Outstanding Player of the College World Series in 2019.

He was considered by many to be a slam-dunk top pick in the 2021 MLB draft, but he ultimately fell to the New York Mets at pick number 10 due to a regression in velocity and command with his fastball, and potential health issues with his right arm. 

These concerns remain an issue for the draft in July, but Rocker has two months to prove his health is of no issue and he still has what it takes to be a top pitcher in the majors.

Rocker currently sits at number 31 on MLB’s top prospect rankings for the 2022 draft. Along with Mick Abel, Andrew Painter, and Griff McGarry, the Phillies' starting rotation of the future could be lethal should they select Rocker.The Phillies have the 17th overall selection in the draft, and don’t currently have another pick until 93. 

Rocker was once thought to be a no-doubt first overall pick in the draft. If he can stay healthy and control his fastball, he could prove to be a steal for the Phillies. 

More From SI's Inside The Phillies:

  1. How Mike Trout Will Join the Phillies
  2. Andrew Painter is Off to a Historic Start
  3. Phillies Top-10 Prospects Heading Into the 2022 MLB Season
  4. 18-Year-Old Phillies Prospect is Making History
  5. How did Philadelphia end up with Citizens Bank Park?
  6. How the Phillie Phanatic Came to be America's Favorite Sports Mascot
  7. This Unlikely Draft Pick Could be the Final Piece in the Phillies Next Blockbuster Trade
  8. "The Family Was More Nervous Than Him," Stott’s Relatives on Debut
  9. Picking the Phillies' All-Time Single Season Lineup
  10. Why Did the Phillies Forget About These Top Prospects?

Make sure to follow Inside the Phillies on Facebook and Twitter!