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Monday, August 02, 2021

Kumar Rocker becomes one of the first pro baseball players of Indian origin

Rocker was once considered a candidate to go first overall but slid down draft boards following an inconsistent spring.

By: Sports Desk |
July 13, 2021 11:36:47 am
Kumar Rocker is one of the first South Asians drafted in any US professional sport. (Source: Vanderbilt Baseball Twitter)

The Mets selected Vanderbilt RHP Kumar Rocker with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft. Rocker was once considered a candidate to go first overall but slid down draft boards following an inconsistent spring.

A second-generation athlete, Rocker’s mother Lalita hails from India. Rocker’s father Tracy Quinton Rocker played professionally for the Washington Redskins for two seasons before transitioning to coaching. His uncle David Deaundra Rocker also played at Auburn and professionally for the Los Angeles Rams for four years.

Kumar is one of the first South Asians drafted in any US professional sport. One of the first pro baseball players of Indian origin, Kumar’s maternal grandparents immigrated to the U.S. from India.

Rocker’s Vanderbilt career was dominant, with 28 wins and 321 strikeouts in his three-year career with the Commodores, which included a shortened 2020 season because of COVID-19. “It’s all been a part of the process. I’m just excited to get picked and to be where I got picked,” Rocker said in his post-draft interview on ESPN. “It’s the ability to learn from the best, and I’m up for it. I’m really excited.”

Rocker initially showed interest in both football and baseball in High School but shifted his focus on baseball when his skill as a pitcher really began shining.

A look at Rocker’s stats:

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 245 pounds

Age: 21

Position: RHP

School: Vanderbilt

Stats: 28-10, 2.89 ERA, 47 GP (39 GS), 2 CG, 236.2 IP, 321 K, 68 BB, 2019-21.

Accolades: All-SEC first team (2021), D1Baseball.com Freshman of the Year (2019), College World Series Most Outstanding Player (2019).

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