Kumar Rocker
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets have made their first pick in the 2021 MLB Draft. 

Tab Bamford

With the tenth overall selection in the 2021 MLB Draft, the New York Mets selected Kumar Rocker from Vanderbilt.

Rocker was projected to be a top-five pick over the past three years. The Mets got an absolute stud with their pick.

From Baseball America‘s scouting report:

BA Grade: 60 | Risk: High
Fastball: 60 | Slider: 70 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 50

Comments: “Rocker was one of the top high school pitching prospects in the loaded 2018 prep pitching class that included lefthanders Matthew Liberatore and Ryan Weathers and righthanders Ethan Hankins and Carter Stewart, among others. Despite ranking as the No. 13 player in the class and a consensus first-round talent, Rocker made it to campus at Vanderbilt where he was the highest-ranked player in Baseball America’s college recruiting rankings history. He delivered on the hype and became the 2019 Freshman of the Year after posting a 3.25 ERA in 16 starts and 99.2 innings with 114 strikeouts to just 21 walks. Because of Rocker’s pedigree and collegiate track record, he entered the tumultuous 2021 draft cycle as the de facto No. 1 player in the 2021 class and remains in the top tier of players despite a lack of consensus on any standout 1-1 player in this year’s group. Rocker has a large, 6-foot-5, 245-pound frame befitting a workhorse big league starter that leaves no doubt about his professional bloodlines. Rocker’s father, Tracy, played football at Auburn and briefly in the NFL. He has power stuff out of that powerful frame, headlined by a fastball up to 99 mph at his best and a devastating slider in the low-to-mid 80s that grades out as a double-plus offering at its best and is one of the better breaking balls in the 2021 class. Rocker has dealt with inconsistent velocity this spring, sitting in the 89-93 mph range at times before getting back to his usual mid-90s stuff. He’s still succeeded and overwhelmed SEC hitters even without his best velocity, but scouts question how that pitch will play at the next level, especially due to the fact that his fastball has played down at times dating back to high school. Rocker experimented with a cutter in the 88-91 mph range this season and has also thrown a firm changeup with slight fading action. Both offerings could give him something to keep lefthanders off his fastball at the next level, and his changeup in particular has shown upside in the past, but both need more refinement and usage before teams will feel confident projecting plus grades. While some teams think Rocker has reliever risk thanks to inconsistent fastball command at times, his pure stuff, pedigree and track record give him significant upside and he should be one of the first arms selected.

From Prep Baseball Report’s scouting report:

What more can be written? Rocker has everything you want in a pitching prospect with size, stuff, athleticism, pitchability and makeup. At 6-foot-5, 245 pounds and armed with plus command of a 93-96 mph fastball, a plus-plus 83-85 slider and a plus-plus 87-90 cutter, Rocker is loaded with weapons. His fastball can overwhelm hitters. His gyrospin slider is always a factor, but his cutter is his best offspeed pitch. On top of his elite arsenal Rocker, is confident and aggressive, taking ownership of the mound and batter’s box. He’s a bona fide ace and should zoom to the big leagues in a hurry.

From CBS Sports‘ scouting report:

The most famous, and therefore the most scrutinized prospect in the class. Rocker is as physical as they come (he’s listed at a Brad Keller- or Lance Lynn-like 6-foot-5, 245 pounds), and he possesses one of the draft’s best chase pitches, in his trademark slider. Alas, there are several reasons he could drop outside of the top five, beginning with a velocity dip he experienced earlier this year. Rocker’s changeup is underbaked, and scouts are concerned that his arsenal will play lighter than it should against big-league hitters. His mechanics, specifically a high elbow and an oft-late arm, are worrisome as it pertains to his command and durability. Rocker should still go in the top 10, and there’s a chance he makes the skepticism look misplaced in due time.

From The Athletic‘s scouting report:

Rocker’s up-and-down spring might knock him down a few pegs on draft boards, but he can still show a plus fastball/plus breaking ball combination and has the size to be a durable, 200-inning starter, needing primarily to improve his command and show more consistency when working with men on base. As I pointed out in my latest mock draft, Rocker has some similarities to other top-of-the-line college starters who didn’t perform up to their stuff as amateurs. He has the ceiling of an ace, but a long way to get there. That’s not an argument to pass over him in the draft, however.