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Kumar Rocker has already embarked on a strange path into professional baseball, and his time hasn’t really begun yet. He was selected by the New York Mets with their tenth overall pick in the 2021 MLB draft and has been a key part of their marketing campaign thereafter. He then didn’t sign as the Mets had questions about his medication and lowered their offer.
Rocker is again eligible for the draft this season, but may be going a different route. He is reportedly considering spending time in independent ball and using that time to prove he is healthy and ready to start his career in attached ball.
Kumar Rocker takes a different route back to the MLB draft
While it’s an unusual move for a player, it’s not unprecedented. JD Drew was the most notorious case of a player playing for the St. Paul Saints in 1997 and 1998 instead of signing with the Phillies. Aaron Crow and Luke Hochevar also progressed through the independent leagues before being drafted again.
At least Rocker wouldn’t go down the same path as Carter Stewart. After failing to settle with the Braves after being selected eighth overall in the 2018 MLB Draft, he signed a six-year contract to play professional baseball for the SoftBank Hawks in Nippon.
If Rocker can stay healthy and producing, this gamble could work. Considered a possible first overall pick for the 2021 MLB draft, he was hailed for his plus-plus slider, upper-90s fastball and serviceable transition. The potential for rockers is to be a dominant tip of the rotary arm.
But it all depends on health. Should Rocker actually take the mound for an independent league team in 2022, he could follow in Hochevar’s footsteps and be the top pick in the upcoming draft. Or if he falls in the 11th overall pick, the Mets could get a second chance to sign him.
Kumar Rocker is reportedly considering directing the independent path for 2022. It’s a gamble that could pay off in the MLB draft.