Kumar Rocker Draft Profile
In 2019, a freshman right-hander from Vanderbilt University made history by throwing the first-ever no-hitter in an NCAA Super Regional. On that day, he also fanned 19 Duke Blue Devils. He went on to win two games in the College World Series, helping the Commodores win their second national championship. Scouts raved about him, saying that if he were draft-eligible, he’d be the Number One overall pick in the MLB Draft. Since then, his predicted spot has dropped to six, but he’s still pegged as a sure thing. His name? Kumar Rocker, son of retired NFL defensive lineman Tracy Rocker.
Kumar Rocker has an overpowering mid-to-high-90s fastball that he can throw three ways. It can come in flat but can also run or sink. The heater has been clocked as high as 99 but usually hangs in the mid-90s. As a secondary pitch, he throws a nasty mid-80s slider with sharp break. It is rated plus-plus when at its sharpest. All 19 of his strikeouts in the no-no came with this filthy pitch. He throws a low-80s curveball as his tertiary pitch. Its break is vertical.
Kumar Rocker needs to work on his command, first and foremost. The other concern, according to MLB.com’s draft prediction, is his changeup. Rocker doesn’t use it much and it doesn’t have much downward break. The prediction also says that his “finesse” needs to improve in order for him to survive on days where he “doesn’t have his top-notch stuff.”
In his three years at Vanderbilt, Rocker has a 28–10 record with a 2.89 ERA across 42 games (39 starts). He has 321 strikeouts, 68 walks, and a 1.001 WHIP in 236 2/3 innings. In his junior year (2021), he went 14–4 with a 2.73 ERA in 20 games (all starts), with 179 strikeouts, 39 walks, and a 0.934 WHIP across 122 innings.
Kumar Rocker is a big man, which is to be expected from the son of an NFL lineman. He is 6’4”, 255 lbs — the size of left-hander Madison Bumgarner. His pitch arsenal is the same as that of Kerry Wood when he entered the league with the Chicago Cubs in 1998. Obviously, we all hope that he doesn’t develop the arm trouble that plagued Wood. If Rocker continues his development track and gets better with his command, he should be a starting rotation mainstay for several years.
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