2018 MLB Draft Prospect Profile: Kumar Rocker
As the winter draws closer to its end, another season of Mariners Baseball is fast upon us. And as baseball season comes, so to does the 2018 MLB Draft. It will be a critical draft for Seattle,with numerous of possibilities available.
In our last installment, we covered Florida RHP Jackson Kowar. This time, we profile a prolific arm from the high school ranks, Georgia prospect Kumar Rocker. Rocker, the 6’5″ 18-year-old, brings big time upside, along with his power fastball.
Long considered the potential 1st overall pick of this draft class, Rocker has slipped to the middle of the first round entering the 2018 season. Still widely considered a top prep arm, Rocker may be a victim of “prospect fatigue”, and could play his way out of Seattle with a solid spring.
A Vanderbilt commit, Rocker best tool is his power fastball. The running, sinking fastball sits at 93-94 MPH, but can hit 98 mph on occasion. Rocker has very good command of the fastball.
Rocker flashes a plus slider at times, but he needs to finish consistently for it to be a legitimate wipe out pitch. As it is now, the pitch is MLB ready, with the potential to be plus down the line. Rocker has little need for another pitch to dominate in high school, but must develop one to be a top line starter in the big leagues.
His changeup is still a work in progress. The throws it hard, and must master the velo drop necessary for the changeup, without sacrificing his arm speed. Rocker has reportedly made strides with the pitch recently, with most scouts agreeing the pitch should be a serviceable third offering.
Rocker shows good athleticism for his 250 lb frame. The son of former NFL lineman Tracy Rocker, Rocker repeats his delivery fairly well, although there is still work to be done.
Scouting Grades (20-80)- Fastball: 70 Slider:55, Changeup:45, Command:50 Overall: 55
At the end of the day, Rocker’s combination of size, fastball velocity, sharp slider, and athleticism could see him reach his potential as a top-of-the-rotation option in 3-4 seasons. Mariners fans could be reminded of young Michael Pineda.
Next: 2018 MLB Draft Profile: Jackson Kowar
Pineda stands at 6’7″, tipping the scales at 260 lbs, also used his power fastball/slider combination for the Mariners in 2011, making the All-Star team as a rookie. Rocker has the same upside as Pineda. As such, Rocker should be a good option for Seattle at 14.