Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Who’s Kumar Rocker and why does he fit in?

SECAUCUS, NJ - JUNE 5: Commissioner Allan H. Bud Selig at the podium during the MLB First-Year Player Draft at the MLB Network Studio on June 5, 2014 in Secacucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
SECAUCUS, NJ - JUNE 5: Commissioner Allan H. Bud Selig at the podium during the MLB First-Year Player Draft at the MLB Network Studio on June 5, 2014 in Secacucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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Happy New Year to you all!  As the year 2020 has gracefully diminished, we look forward to a new slate, new season and new draft year for a fresh set of talent.

This year’s draft has a name at the top of the charts which will “ROCK” your mind and your radar gun.

Before we dive into the meat and potatoes of this evaluation, let’s take the time to remember 2020.  COVID-19 affected lives and families across the world.  It affected sports and hopes of amateur athletes advancing into careers.  This year’s MLB draft is looking a lot more promising, with a hopeful 20 rounds as opposed to the impermanent 5-rounder in 2020.

Now, let’s jump into it; the name is KUMAR ROCKER.   Ever heard the name? Maybe you’ve seen it at number 3 on Baseball America’s top 150 prospects of 2020.  The monster right-handed gunner from Montgomery, Alabama is a starter on the bump for the almighty Vanderbilt Commodores.  His resume is quite impressive, and his reports are majestic to scouts across the world.

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Rocker was a 2017 All-American classic prospect, and competed with the 18U team USA national program.  He attended North Oconee High School, where in 2018 he was selected in the 38th round by the Colorado Rockies in the draft.  Rocker did not put pen to paper, taking his pricy talents to Vanderbilt.

Rocker’s 2019 track record continued to peel the eye lids back.  He was the 8th best overall player in the 2019 Perfect Game class.  In 11 starts, he went 10-1 with a 2.17 ERA, 80 K’s in 70.2; completed strike out machine.  He also walked no more than 2 hitters in 18 of 19 appearances, and fanned 11 hitters in the college world series against Michigan.  In 2020, prior to the coronavirus outbreak, Kumar put on a show, putting up 28 punch outs in 15 innings, and punching out 12 batters in 6 innings against Illinoi-Chicago.

This list can go on; we can continue to watch the excellent track record this kid has showcased.  What we all want to know is, where will the draft land him?  Fans north of the border can only dream of this.  What a story would it be that the Blue Jays selected back-to-back Vanderbilt studs year after year in the first round.

Austin Martin and Kumar Rocker, re-united? A true Commodore tale!  The reality is, it probably won’t happen.  The sound of it is amazing; Kumar amongst Alek Manoah, Adam Kloffenstein, CJ Van Eyk, Merryweather, Nolan, Zeuch; this could be a fantasy prospect show of arms.  Fact of the matter is, we have the 19th pick in the 2021 order; sounds like 19th too late. Kumar is expected to be 1st overall, meaning there is solid shot he’ll be in the black and yellow.

However the draft ends up, let’s look at what Rocker will show for his employer and against unsuccessful bidders:

PHYSICAL MAKEUP:

Rocker is heavy; very muscular build from top to bottom.  Strong upper half, even stronger lower half. Very mobile in the hips and has monster legs used to drive towards his catcher.

STRENGTHS/WEAKNESS’

–          Has physical strength to maintain and increase velocity

–          Great ability to work the zone; can work low/high in, low/high away

–          Slider and fastball are his bread and butter; slider is the out pitch

–          Throws a lot of strikes

–          Strikeout machine

–          IQ of his batters, counts and solid approach

–          Needs more use and confidence in the changeup

SCALE:

FASTBALL – 70/ PLUS-PLUS

SLIDER – 65

CHANGEUP – 50

SYNOPSIS

Rocker, a rocket on the hill, Standing 6’4”, basing at a muscular line-backer style 246lbs.  He displays strength from the ground up, with a strong athletic body type and a solid base of muscle from the lower half transferring to the loose hips.  He towers down the mound with a stride towards his catcher similar to Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman; he winds up and delivers soundly and consistently similar to Marcus Stroman.

Kumar has a really reliable fastball which he can control and use all over the square.  His fastball sits 95-96 consistent, with sneak peaks of 99 in the past.  He’s shown ability to turn up the heat throughout games.  His slider is his out pitch; sweeping and hovering the zone, deceiving and dancing middle in to righties when not below the knees.

This slider is very similar to a curve but define by the axis spin; this highly effective pitch is delivered between a comfortable 87-88 mph.   His change- up is very rarely used and not really needed; this pitch has potential to be a weapon in the repertoire, but needs more presence in games.

At the moment, this pitch is obviously not in demand based on his other 2 options.  Rocker has shown tremendous levels of IQ in his outings; he has the ability to read his opponents and pick weakness’.  His improving fastball command and velocity puts him in the discussion of ace or mid-rotation starter with his ability to go deep into games.

Next. Blue Jays have reportedly made an offer to Tomoyuki Sugano. dark

My belief is that Rocker is #1-#3 pick in 2021. – Nick PRASAD (Scout/Evaluator, RINGSZN Baseball Development & Scouting)

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