Football

Turns out, the New York Mets did pitcher Kumar Rocker a favor

About 10 days in the past, Vanderbilt baseball coach Tim Corbin sat at his desk and confidently provided a daring assertion about Kumar Rocker.

Two of them, truly.

“Bodily, he seems the very best he is ever regarded.”

First off, that was saying one thing from Corbin, contemplating what wonders Rocker labored at Vanderbilt. He was much less a pitcher and extra a phenomenon.

Subsequently, a lot concern accompanied Rocker’s previous yr. He was dealt a terrible hand. He was the massive catch the New York Mets drafted within the first spherical and then tossed back amid medical concerns that – to this present day – aren’t wholly understood round Vanderbilt’s program.

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“There was nothing here in his time here that would lead us to think that he was injured,” Corbin told me.

But those weren’t his other bold words I’d mentioned.

These were:

“Who knows? It might have been the best thing to ever happen for him.”

Perhaps Corbin had a hint of what happened Sunday night, when the Texas Rangers threw a curveball by selecting Rocker – contemporary off a short however profitable stint in impartial ball after minor shoulder surgery – third general within the 2022 MLB Draft.

It was a lot increased than anticipated. Seven spots higher than the Mets a yr in the past. He’ll absolutely obtain extra money in consequence, an enormous win for him and his household and his agent, Scott Boras.

Not solely that, however the Rangers additionally drafted Rocker’s former college teammate Jack Leiter final yr. The considered these two Vanderbilt superstars again in the identical rotation needs to be attractive for followers in Texas.

As a result of Vanderbilt is aware of what Texas is getting. It was spoiled to observe Leiter and Rocker pitch a flawed crew inside one victory of a nationwide championship in 2021. Then in 2022, the Commodores noticed simply how comparatively common they turned with out them.

Leiter had a lot expertise and super stuff. Rocker was so bodily sturdy and dominant – an influence pitcher with a fastball/slider combo that would appear to translate seamlessly into the massive leagues.

It was nearly unthinkable that the Mets may flip that down.

Nearly.

Once they handed, they made Rocker look forward to the following yr’s draft.

“From then, we’re right here in the present day. It was an attractive course of,” Rocker told MLB Network on Sunday night time. “I’m excited I went by way of it.”

Smartest thing for him? Who’d have thought {that a} yr in the past?

It may have gone otherwise for Rocker. Any variety of instructions, actually. That’s all the time the case when medical worries are on the desk, particularly with him falling off baseball’s radar for some time earlier than reappearing this summer time with the Tri-Metropolis ValleyCats of the Frontier League.

The competitors wasn’t stellar. However when Rocker pitched once more, he was clearly prepared. He was excellent. Similar as ever. Sufficient to make fears ease up within the MLB ranks.

“He needed to make the very best use of 1 yr,” Corbin stated, “and he did. … I feel he will find yourself simply high-quality, as a result of as soon as he finally ends up with a crew, then he will make his approach. I do not fear about him as soon as he will get inside with a corporation.”

Certainly, Rocker’s story remains to be in its early levels. Years later, few will keep in mind how bizarre it started – or how unclear it stays as to why it needed to be that approach.

All’s properly that ends properly.

Expertise gained out. So did onerous work, evidently.

Good for Kumar Rocker. He’d earned the precise to be smiling on draft night time once more, and when he did, a variety of of us from Nashville joined him.

Attain Tennessean sports activities columnist Gentry Estes at gestes@tennessean.com and on Twitter @Gentry_Estes.

This text initially appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Kumar Rocker got lucky in MLB draft with Mets snub, Rangers selection


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