Top Draft prospect Rocker fans 11

March 6th, 2021

Kumar Rocker’s quest for a 0.00 ERA is over.

Maybe the fact that the idea of a perfect ERA isn’t that crazy shows just how good Rocker has been. After two scoreless starts to open his junior season at Vanderbilt, the top MLB Draft prospect allowed one earned run on two hits, while walking one, hitting a batter and striking out 11 over six innings against Illinois-Chicago on Saturday.

Rocker got off to a shaky start, hitting the first batter of the game on a full-count pitch and moving him up to second with a balk before issuing another free pass. But a sacrifice, a strikeout and a flyout to center field got the right-hander of the jam

The only damage UIC inflicted came in the third. Matt Bottcher laced a one-out double down the right-field line, advanced to third when Rocker threw a wild pitch on strike three to Brett Tressen and came home on Joshua Figueroa’s ground ball to second.

Rocker settled in for the rest of the game. He retired the next nine batters, notching two strikeouts in each of the next two innings, before the Commodores went to the bullpen in the seventh.

With a powerful fastball-slider combination, Rocker has long been considered an elite prospect, coming in at No. 23 on MLB Pipeline’s Draft Top 200 out of high school in 2018. But he turned down a 38th-round selection by the Rockies to stick to his Vanderbilt commitment and arrived in Nashville as a weekend starter. He capped his freshman year with a Super Regional 19-strikeout no-hitter against Duke and won the Most Outstanding Player Award at the College World Series.

Including three starts during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Rocker has allowed just four earned runs in 30 innings since his freshman year. With the one earned run charged to his line Saturday, his season ERA sits at 0.60 in 15 frames.