One of baseball’s most prominent draft analysts projected a big-name pitcher to end up in Philadelphia later this summer.
In the latest version of his MLB mock draft that was released on Tuesday, The Athletic‘s Keith Law had the Phillies selecting former Vanderbilt right-hander Kumar Rocker with the 17th overall pick. The first round of this year’s draft will take place on July 17 in Los Angeles.
Rocker was previously taken by the New York Mets in the first round of last year’s draft, but did not sign. The Most Outstanding Player at the 2019 College World Series was selected by New York with the 10th pick, however, the Mets rescinded their pre-draft offer for a signing bonus following his physical and medical evaluation.
Despite only pitching three college seasons, Rocker opted not to return to Vanderbilt after going unsigned. He then joined the independent Tri-City Valley Cats of the Frontier League last month. The 22-year-old has made three starts in indy ball, keeping a 2.45 ERA with 18 strikeouts in 11 innings.
Law noted that, while there is the upside of a future second starter, Rocker’s potential as a quick riser, perhaps even reaching the majors this season, could be a selling point for the Phillies. After taking high school pitchers in Mick Abel and Andrew Painter in the first rounds of the previous two drafts, Rocker could be someone who can make a big-league impact soon, a real bonus when considering the bullpen struggles happening in Philadelphia.
The medical concerns are definitely a factor, but Rocker is a 6-foot-5 workhorse with a fastball in the upper-90s mph. If he can stay healthy, the floor is relatively high for a pitcher with his background of success.
MORE FROM PHILLIES NATION
- Phillies 2022 Walk-Up Songs
- Before His Walk-Off, Rhys Hoskins And His Wife Jayme ‘Went Yard’ For MDA
- Bryce Harper On Trea Turner: ‘I’m Excited To See Where He Goes Next Year’
- Bake McBride, Ron Reed To Be Inducted Onto Phillies Wall Of Fame
- Yes, Rob Thomson Has Taken Notice Of ‘Twitter Machine’ Logan O’Hoppe
- Bryce Harper On Clubhouse Under Rob Thomson: ‘It’s A Different Vibe’
- Executive Believe Phillies Will Target Star SS After 2022 Season
- New Phillies 2022 Promotions Include Mike Schmidt Ring, Nick Castellanos T-Shirt
- Jim Leyland Didn’t Replace Joe Girardi For A Variety Of Reasons
- Takeaways From Dave Dombrowski, Rob Thomson Press Conference