MLB Draft: Kumar Rocker going to Vanderbilt, not pro baseball
It appears Vanderbilt baseball’s highly touted recruiting class could stay mostly intact, especially with a coveted pitcher opting for the Commodores over pro baseball.
Kumar Rocker, a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher, indicated on his Instagram page Tuesday morning that he will play for Vanderbilt in the 2019 season. A social media post is not binding and could be a negotiating tactic, but it's a likely sign that the ace will join the Commodores.
Rocker was the second-highest rated high school right-handed pitcher in the MLB Draft, according to MLB.com, but he was not selected in the first two rounds Monday night.
Rocker, a standout at North Oconee High School in Bogart, Ga., is 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, and has a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and touches 98 mph. On Instagram, Rocker posted a photo of himself signing a national letter of intent with Vanderbilt and wrote: “I Want It All… Who Doesn’t. Didn’t Plan On Skipping a Step. #AnchorDown.”
Vanderbilt will host Mississippi State in a Super Regional, beginning Friday (7 p.m., ESPN2), after sweeping the Clemson Regional over the weekend.
Five Vanderbilt signees were selected in the first three rounds of the MLB Draft, but other coveted prospects like Rocker were bypassed. That means the Commodores, who have touted college baseball’s No. 1 recruiting class in two of the past three years, could retain the bulk of their signees in the 2018 class.
NCAA baseball tournament:Vanderbilt will host Mississippi State in Super Regional
Loretto left-handed pitcher Ryan Weathers was picked No. 7 by the San Diego Padres. Right-handed pitcher Ethan Hankins, a Georgia high school standout, was taken No. 35 by the Cleveland Indians. Signing bonuses for those picks are valued at about $5.2 million and $2 million, respectively, according to MLB.com.
Florida high school shortstop Xavier Edwards was picked in the Competitive Balance round, between the first and second rounds, by the Padres with a pick value of about $1.9 million. Georgia high school catcher Will Banfield went to the Miami Marlins in the Competitive Balance portion after the second round with a value of $894,600.
Karns High outfielder Ryder Green went to the Yankees in the third round (No. 97 overall).
Clemson Regional:Vanderbilt wins with NCAA tournament-record nine home runs
A few other Vanderbilt signees could opt for professional baseball despite not being picked in the early rounds, but that likelihood lessens with each round.
On Vanderbilt's current roster, shortstop Connor Kaiser (No. 86 overall, Pirates) and pitcher Reid Schaller (No. 101, Nationals) were drafted in the third round on Tuesday, and pitcher Chandler Day went in the seventh round (No. 221, Nationals).
Kaiser tied a school record with three home runs and tied an NCAA tournament record with 10 RBIs in a 19-6 win over Clemson Sunday night to clinch the Regional.
Reach Adam Sparks at email@example.com and on Twitter @AdamSparks.