A year ago, the New York Mets selected Vanderbilt star Kumar Rocker with the 10th overall choice in the 2021 MLB Draft. Rocker was expected to come in and become a sensation, and his college tape gave everybody a ton of hype.
VANDERBILT’S KUMAR ROCKER JUST MADE HISTORY! pic.twitter.com/Q05eYikbbR
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) June 9, 2019
Unfortunately, the Mets didn’t offer Rocker a contract due to medical issues. Rocker fell to 10 in 2021 due to decreased velocity and teams being concerned about his arm. Then, the Mets waited all summer and decided not to offer Rocker a contract in one of the most puzzling moves of recent memory.
Rocker then joined Tri-City of the independent Frontier League. In five starts, he put together a 1-0 record with a 1.35 ERA.
Now, in the first round of the 2022 MLB Draft, Rocker heard his name called by the Texas Rangers at No. 3 overall.
In a big draft surprise, Kumar Rocker goes No. 3 overall to the Rangers — seven spots higher than he did last year to the Mets.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) July 17, 2022
Mets fans aren’t thrilled with Rocker going elsewhere and will always think of what could have been.
I hope Rocker has a long, Hall of Fame career. I really hated how my favorite team talked about him like a chess piece last year. https://t.co/Lwtvvlq8Fi
— Bruce Clarke (@bruceclarkejr) July 18, 2022
I'm seeing Nolan Ryan type situation all over again for the Mets. https://t.co/ER3iV5cLfe
— Bench Yelich (@M00se1992) July 17, 2022
So glad he’s in the AL West so he can’t haunt the Mets https://t.co/YfrHxjbehG
— Zak Musso (@zakmusso) July 17, 2022
— Kyle Malzhan (@KyleMalzhan) July 17, 2022
Is it a risk? Sure, but Rocker’s arm was deemed healthy last summer by the time the Mets passed on offering him a deal.
Want to hear another cool nugget? Rocker is reunited with former college teammate and young star pitcher Jack Leiter. The Rangers selected Leiter, son of Al Leiter, with the second overall choice in the 2021 MLB Draft.
The Rangers last two 1st-round picks…Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker.
The two former Vanderbilt teammates were both Golden Spikes Award Finalists in 2021 and shared the Division-I lead with 179 strikeouts that year. pic.twitter.com/YOAZFwstYK
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 18, 2022
The two stars are back together, and Mets fans will be going through pain whenever Kumar Rocker pitches against them at the big league level.