Red Sox Have Serious Interest In Former Vanderbilt Star Kumar Rocker

Rocker could be a priority draft target for the Red Sox


Jul 12, 2022

The Boston Red Sox might finally get their hands on one of the most tantalizing pitching prospects in recent memory with the No. 24 pick in the upcoming Major League Baseball Draft.

Former Vanderbilt standout Kumar Rocker will be entering the draft once again after failing to agree to a contract with the New York Mets a season ago due to a failed post-draft physical.

Rocker was the consensus No. 1 overall pick heading into the 2021 MLB Draft, but fell to 10th overall due to some unexpected rises from other prospects and concerns regarding the right-hander’s elbow.

Rocker will hear his name called once again on July 17, and the Red Sox seem prepared to pull the trigger if given the opportunity.

“Red Sox director of amateur scouting Paul Toboni on Kumar Rocker: ‘Honestly (our scouting of him) dates back to high school. We liked him a lot as a high schooler. We liked him last year and we liked him a good amount this year. So just a tremendous kid and player,’ ”’s Ian Browne tweeted on Tuesday.

The Athletics’ Keith Law, arguably the most prominent MLB Draft expert out there, reported that the Red Sox were serious about Rocker at No. 4 overall last year before ultimately deciding on Marcelo Mayer. Law mocked the six-foot-five, 245-pound pitcher to Boston on Monday.

Rocker was 28-10 with a 2.89 ERA, 321 strikeouts and 68 walks in 236 2/3 innings across three seasons for Vanderbilt (including the cancelled 2019-2020 season that limited him to just 15 innings).

After dominating at the highest level of college baseball, the Southeastern Conference, Rocker went to the Tri-City ValleyCats — an independent Frontier League team — to tune up for the upcoming draft.

The 22-year-old was 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA and a 32-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 20 innings pitched. His indy ball numbers aren’t the most important, but his wipeout stuff appears to be in order following some allegations of an injured arm by the Mets. It’s also important to note that he was clocked at 98 mph recently.

Thumbnail photo via Bruce Thorson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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