The Rangers and No. 3 total draft choose Kumar Rocker have agreed to phrases on a $5.2MM bonus, reports Jon Heyman of the New York Publish. The proper-hander’s bonus clocks in nicely south of the choose’s $7,587,600 slot worth, which ought to afford the Rangers flexibility additional down their board. Rocker is represented by the Boras Company.
Rocker was the No. 10 total choose by the Mets a 12 months in the past and was reportedly set to ink a $6MM bonus earlier than medical considerations scuttled that deal. He’d ultimately go on to have an arthroscopic process on his proper shoulder final August. Slightly than returning to Vanderbilt for his senior season, Rocker as an alternative opted to pitch for the Tri-Metropolis Valley Cats of the impartial Frontier League (an official companion league of MLB). Well being hasn’t appeared to be a difficulty in any respect for Rocker this time 12 months; he’s pitched 20 innings for the Valley Cats and turned in a 1.35 ERA with a dominant 32-to-4 Okay/BB ratio whereas reportedly operating his heater again as much as 99 mph.
The choice by the Rangers improbably reunites Vanderbilt’s 2021 co-aces, as Texas took right-hander Jack Leiter with the No. 2 total choose within the draft simply final season. Leiter and Rocker had been extensively seen as two of the highest arms in final 12 months’s draft — evidenced by their top-ten alternatives — and can now give the Rangers a pair of high-ceiling arms upon which to construct. (Leiter definitely appears happy with the Rangers’ choice, celebrating the choose with a pair of tweets final evening.)
Rocker, 22, starred alongside Leiter for everything of his three years at Vanderbilt, pitching to a 2.89 ERA with a 33.2% strikeout charge and a 7.8% stroll charge in 236 1/3 innings for the Commodores in a tricky SEC setting. The 6’5″, 245-pound righty has an upper-90s heater, and scouting experiences from Baseball America, The Athletic, ESPN, MLB.com and FanGraphs credit score him with a slider that attracts 60 to 70 grades on the 20-80 scale. Rocker has additionally labored with a curveball and changeup, each drawing not less than common rankings in most experiences.
Whereas Rocker was one of the crucial recognizable names on this 12 months’s draft, his choice at No. 3 total nonetheless registered as a draft-night shock. Most rankings had him as a late first-rounder and even within the second spherical, contemplating final summer time’s shoulder surgical procedure and a few oft-cited inconsistency in his stuff at Vanderbilt. The Rangers had been clearly heartened by Rocker’s robust exhibiting within the Frontier League, and so they’ll additionally now have the choice to make use of the financial savings on their No. 3 choice to scoop up some lingering, hard-to-sign abilities who stay on the board.
Regardless of selecting at No. 3, Texas entered the draft with simply the 14th-largest bonus pool — a mirrored image of the truth that they surrendered their second- and third-round picks (and the related bonus pool allotments) to signal free brokers Corey Seager and Marcus Semien this previous winter. Due to these forfeitures, Rocker stays the one choice Texas has made to date. The Rangers’ subsequent choose will are available Spherical 4, and there are nonetheless a number of extremely regarded highschool choices on the board, headlined by Clemson-committed righty Brock Porter, who’s thought to be a first-round expertise however was not chosen on Day 1 of the draft.