Kumar Rocker Taken No. 3 Overall by Rangers in 2022 MLB Draft; Picked by Mets in 2021

Doric SamJuly 17, 2022

OMAHA, NE - JUNE 29: Kumar Rocker #80 of the Vanderbilt Commodores reacts before the game against the Mississippi St. Bulldogs during the Division I Men's Baseball Championship held at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha on June 29, 2021 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The Texas Rangers selected former Vanderbilt Commodores pitcher Kumar Rocker third overall in the 2022 MLB draft on Sunday.

The New York Mets originally drafted Rocker with the No. 10 pick in 2021, but they chose not to offer him a contract after reviewing his medical information.

The selection of Rocker came as a massive surprise, though he's regarded as the most promising pitcher in this year's draft class:

JJ Cooper @jjcoop36

An audible gasp as the Rangers select Kumar Rocker. The most MLB ready pitcher in the draft. Guessing he will move quick, and unlike almost every other college-age SP, he has plenty of innings left this year. He's just started pitching.

When the Mets chose not to sign Rocker, his adviser Scott Boras said in a statement that the hurler "is healthy according to independent medical review by multiple prominent baseball orthopedic surgeons." Boras added that Rocker "requires no medical attention, and will continue to pitch in the regular course as he prepares to begin his professional career."

Instead of returning to Vanderbilt, Rocker joined the Tri-City ValleyCats of the independent Frontier League. In five starts, he recorded a 1.35 ERA with 32 strikeouts in 20 innings.

The 6'5" right-hander established himself as one of the top pitching prospects in baseball during his three-year run at Vanderbilt. Rocker posted a 3.25 ERA with 114 strikeouts as a freshman in 2019. After the 2020 season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he returned for his junior year and notched a 2.73 ERA with 179 strikeouts.

Being selected by the Rangers will reunite Rocker with his Commodores teammate Jack Leiter, who was drafted second overall by Texas in 2021. After starting this season in Double-A, Leiter represented the Rangers at the MLB Futures Game on Saturday and pitched a perfect inning.

With Rocker and Leiter now in their pipeline, the Rangers are poised to have a potentially dominant one-two punch at the top of their starting rotation in the next few years.