Texas Rangers Select Kumar Rocker At No. 3

Texas Rangers Select Kumar Rocker At No. 3

With the third overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft, the Texas Rangers selected the former Vanderbilt and recent Tri-City ValleyCat pitcher Kumar Rocker.

Jul 18, 2022 by Kyle Kensing
Texas Rangers Select Kumar Rocker At No. 3

The slimmest fraction of amateur baseball players go in the MLB Draft, say nothing of being selected in the top 10. To be drafted in the top 10 twice? 

Well, it’s just another chapter in the fast-growing legend of Kumar Rocker.

One year after his selection at No. 10 to the New York Mets fell through, Rocker’s redemptive arc—after a health-related impasse prevented his signing—took another thrilling turn. The Texas Rangers selected the right-handed flamethrower No. 3 overall in the 2022 Draft. 

Anonymous-sourced reports earlier this month cited a “minor” procedure performed on Rocker’s shoulder last September. Nevertheless, New York’s hesitation and the lack of details in the months that followed caused uncertainty that led all the way into this draft season. 

Rocker wasn’t uncertain. The 6-foot-5 hurler out of Vanderbilt told reporters on Sunday he “figured I could be” taken in the first round again. 

“I think my talent speaks for itself,” he added. 

Texas taking a chance on Rocker after last year’s false start with the Mets generated the most buzz of the draft. However, it’s not a risk made without careful consideration. 

“Kumar has been under the care of one of the leading orthopedic surgeons in the world,” Rangers general manager Chris Young said via 

“He’s been in great supervision throughout his rehab, he's been pitching healthy. We're very comfortable with the medical review and that's why we drafted him.”

Rocker’s ability was well-known in his tenure at Vanderbilt… 

…but his return to the mound this summer with the Frontier League’s Tri-City ValleyCats reinforced the prospect’s pro potential. 

Rocker struck out at least five batters in each of his five appearances with the ValleyCats. He K’d seven in each of his final three outings in the Frontier League. 

In addition to his renowned strikeout ability, Rocker demonstrated command with three games not allowing an earned run. He concluded his time in the Frontier League with the first win of his professional career. 

Almost assuredly, the next win of his career will be somewhere in the Rangers organization. And upon joining Texas, a reunion with Vandy teammate Jack Leiter is likely sooner than later. 

Leiter went to the Rangers No. 2 overall in the 2021 Draft. He has spent this season with the Double-A Frisco Roughriders where Leiter has struck out 62 in 50 innings pitched. 

In 2021 at Vanderbilt, Leiter finished 11-4 with a 2.45 ERA and 179 strikeouts. The Commodores reached the championship round of the College World Series with Leiter and Rocker as the aces of the pitching staff. 

Much has transpired in little more than a year since the duo were teammates. While some of it was tumultuous for Rocker, his comeback through the Frontier League only fueled the uniquely talented pitcher to attack the game more aggressively. 

“I just got a new motivation,” Rocker said in his teleconference. 

“And I just attacked my work at a different rate and a different way.”