kumar rocker vanderbilt
AP Photo/Wade Payne

Kumar Rocker's Lights-Out Fastball Has MLB Teams Drooling

It's rare for a high school or college baseball player to be a household name before they're even taken in the MLB Draft. However, in recent years, Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, and Adley Rutschman have bucked tradition.

Since players take years to reach Major League Baseball, even these draft prospects exit the public consciousness until they get called up.

Kumar Rocker, a starting pitcher for the Vanderbilt Commodores, looks like the next prospect that even casual fans will know.

During the 2019 NCAA College World Series, his success put him on the map nationally, and it's finally time to see where he'll end up.

Kumar Rocker at Vanderbilt University 

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Rocker first shined at North Oconee High School in Bogart, Georgia. He was even taken in the 38th round by the Colorado Rockies in the 2018 MLB Draft.

Vanderbilt baseball, of course, is one of the premier programs in the NCAA, and Rocker was dead-set on playing there.

The right-hander got off to a beautiful start as a freshman, posting a 12-5 record, 3.25 earned run average, and totaling 114 strikeouts. His body of work got even better in the postseason when he threw a 19-strikeout no-hitter against Duke in the Super Regionals.

The Commodores went on to win the College World Series, largely thanks to Rocker's heroics. He was given the Most Outstanding Player award as a result.

Rocker looked solid in 2020, and sharing a rotation with Jack Leiter has made Vandy head coach Tim Corbin's job easy in 2021.

Rocker dealt with some velocity inconsistencies in his final season. However, he still finished with a 2.86 ERA and 132 strikeouts in 91.1 IP.

Kumar Rocker Scouting Report 

The righty has three plus pitches: a fastball, slider, and curveball. The "worst" of Rocker's offerings, a changeup, is still considered an average pitch that can get even better if he uses it in favorable counts more often.

The Commodores are a constant threat to reach the NCAA Tournament and bring a national championship to Nashville, and this season is no different.

Vanderbilt will be a No. 4 seed when the NCAA National Championship begins on June 4. Rocker's stock will rise even more with that added exposure.

Rocker is the son of Tracy Rocker, who played college football at Auburn before joining the NFL. Tracy worked as the defensive line coach for Tennessee from 2017-19, South Carolina in 2020, and will take the same role with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2021.

Kumar Rocker looks Major League-ready today. He may not be the consensus first-overall pick anymore. Still, the Pittsburgh Pirates need an immediate boost, and he would provide that.

If not, a team like the Texas Rangers or Boston Red Sox could pull the trigger as well.

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