Rangers and No. 3 overall draft pick Kumar Rocker has accepted the terms of a $ 5.2MM bonus, reports Jon Heyman of the New York Post. The right-hander’s bonus clocks in well south of the election’s $ 7,587,600 slot value, which should give Rangers flexibility further down the board. Rocker is represented by Boras Corporation.
Rocker became number 10 of the Mets a year ago and was reportedly set to give a $ 6 MM bonus before medical concerns terminated that deal. He was to have an arthroscopic procedure on his right shoulder in August last year. Instead of returning to Vanderbilt for his senior season, Rocker chose instead to line up for the Tri-City Valley Cats in the independent Frontier League (an official MLB partner league). Health has not seemed to be an issue at all for Rocker this year; he has pitched 20 innings for the Valley Cats and delivered a 1.35 ERA with a dominant 32-to-4 K / BB ratio while reportedly driving the heater back to 99 mph.
Rangers’ choice is unlikely to reunite Vanderbilt’s 2021 employees as Texas took the right hand Jack Leiter with No. 2 overall pick in the draft just last season. Leiter and Rocker were widely seen as two of the top arms in last year’s draft – proven by their top ten picks – and will now give the Rangers a pair of raised arms to build on. Leiter seems absolutely happy with Rangers’ choice, and celebrates the choice with one couple of tweets last night.)
Rocker, 22, starred alongside Leiter throughout his three years at Vanderbilt, going to 2.89 ERA with a 33.2% throughput and 7.8% walk in 236 1/3 innings for the Commodores in a tough SEC setting . The 6’5-inch, 245-pound hoist has a heater from the upper 90s, and scout reports from Baseball America, The Athletic, ESPN, MLB.com and FanGraphs give him a slider that draws 60 to 70 characters at 20-80. scale. Rocker has also worked on a curveball and changeup, both with at least average ratings in most reports.
While Rocker was one of the most recognizable names in this year’s draft, his No. 3 pick overall was recorded as a draft surprise. Most rankings had him as a late first-round pick or even in the second round, given last summer’s shoulder surgery and some often cited inconsistencies in his cases at Vanderbilt. The Rangers were clearly encouraged by the Rockers’ strong performance in the Frontier League, and they will now also have the opportunity to use the savings on their No. 3 selection to provide some lingering, difficult-to-sign talents who remain on the board.
Despite choosing No. 3, Texas entered the draft with only the 14th largest bonus pot – a reflection of the fact that they gave up the second and third round selections (and the associated bonus pool awards) to sign free agents Corey Seager and Marcus Semien this past winter. Because of these losses, Rocker is the only choice Texas has made so far. Rangers’ next pick comes in Round 4, and there are still a few highly regarded high school options on the board, led by Clemson-committed right-winger Brock Porter, who is seen as a first-round talent but was not selected on Day 1. of the draft.