Why Rocker at No. 3 was a draft-night shocker

The Texas Rangers selected former Vanderbilt suitable-hander Kumar Rocker with the No. 3 overall decide on Sunday evening in the 2022 Significant League Baseball Draft. Rocker was one of the most nicely-known names in the draft class, but the top-three choice was a huge draft-night surprise. 

The rationalization starts with past summer’s draft, when Rocker went unsigned immediately after staying picked 10th over-all by the New York Mets. The two sides failed to reach an agreement subsequent the benefits of a write-up-draft bodily. 

Rocker had only so a lot of routes he could get from there, as stipulated by MLB’s principles governing newbie gamers. He could’ve returned to Vanderbilt for yet another year, he could’ve played in an independent or worldwide league, or he could’ve sat out solely. For a while, the signal went silent, other than the occasional rumor about his arm’s wellbeing. Just one veteran significant-ranking scouting official even remarked to CBS Sports in the spring that he was the most hard prospect to get new details on in the overall class.

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As it turns out, Rocker’s absence was in portion mainly because he underwent shoulder medical procedures very last drop, as 1st described by ESPN. He did resurface in the summer for a proof-of-life tour, even so, becoming a member of the Tri-Town Valley Cats of the Frontier League. He failed to appear rusty, both. Certainly, he amassed a 1.35 Period and an 8.00 strikeout-to-stroll ratio in five begins. Just one scout in attendance for Rocker’s debut clocked his fastball up to 99 mph, and evaluated his slider as getting a 70-quality featuring, or close to-elite. Rocker’s pitching was excellent enough to land him in CBS Sports’ pre-draft leading 30 ranking.

However, Rocker didn’t appear to be probably to go off the board in the best 10, allow by itself at No. 3. Teams presently experienced reservations about his activity stemming from last draft cycle. They dread that his fastball-slider combination will be undercut by his lack of a changeup, and that his shipping and delivery will negatively effects equally his command and his very long-term arm overall health. Factor in that he’d scarcely pitched this year, and that he’d by now necessary one operation on his shoulder, and it appeared additional most likely than not that he would uncover himself remaining picked in the mid-to-latter stages of the first round.

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The Rangers evidently assumed Rocker was still an elite prospect, and a person who merited a leading-a few choice. (It failed to damage that Rocker was inclined to consider an underslot offer, in accordance to Jeff Passan.) Now, Rocker can be a part of the exact business that by now employs Jack Leiter, his previous Vanderbilt teammate. 

The upside here is that the Rangers will have two promising electricity arms who should attain the majors in short order. Of training course, the draw back is that Rocker’s health and fitness and aforementioned limits, additionally the top rated of this class’ power, will depart Rangers admirers questioning what might have happened if the club experienced just taken one of the offered hitters in its place. This kind of is the warp and the woof of draft night.