Rocker fans 14 in another dominant outing

March 20th, 2021

Kumar Rocker's starts have quickly become must-watch events in the college baseball landscape and the right-hander has yet to disappoint.

MLB Pipeline’s No. 1 overall Draft prospect spun another gem Friday as he struck out 14 over eight innings in No. 2 Vanderbilt's 3-2 win over No. 16 South Carolina in the opener of SEC play.

The Gamecocks did tag Rocker for two runs, the first two earned runs he’s given up all season, which brought his ERA all the way up to 0.58.

No, that ERA is not a typo. Rocker has been lights out all season, yielding just 11 hits, while amassing 48 strikeouts over 31 innings.

Against South Carolina, it was much of the same. Rocker struck out four of the first seven batters he faced, fanned at least one in each inning and struck out the side in the eighth to end his night.

Rocker has been on the scouting radar for quite some time now and ranked No. 23 on MLB Pipeline’s Draft Top 200 coming out of high school in 2018. After turning down a 38th-round selection from the Rockies, he became somewhat of a household name in 2019 as he went 10-1 with a 2.17 ERA (11 starts) in the regular season and tossed a 19-strikeout no-hitter against Duke in the Super Regionals on his way to being named the College World Series Most Outstanding Player.

All 19 of those strikeouts against Duke came via his plus-plus slider, and for as dominant as that pitch is, what’s scary for opposing batters is that Rocker has continued to add to his arsenal. The 21-year-old added a cutter to his repertoire this season and the early results have been impressive.

While there are still some questions about Rocker's changeup and there is room to improve his command, there’s no doubt his name will be called early when the Draft gets underway on July 11.