Pittsburgh Pirates Draft: MLB.com’s Latest Mock Draft
By Marty Leap
MLB.com recently released their latest mock draft for the 2021 MLB Draft. Who do they project the Pittsburgh Pirates to select with the top pick in the draft?
While the 2021 MLB Draft is just a little under seven months away, that does not stop various websites and other outlets from publishing mock drafts. As all of you reading this likely know the Pittsburgh Pirates have the top pick in the 2021 MLB Draft. This makes reading mock drafts
MLB.com has released their latest mock draft. In this mock draft MLB.com projects the Pittsburgh Pirates to select a name that has become a familiar one with Pirate fans in recent months. The player that MLB.com is currently projecting the Pirates to select with the top pick in next July’s draft is Vanderbilt right-handed pitcher Kumar Rocker.
Dating back to early in the 2020 season when it was clear the Pittsburgh Pirates were going to be competing for the top pick in the draft, Rocker’s name was one fans began to know well. All you had to do was look at Twitter during a Pirate game to see hashtags such as #TankForKumar and #KrashForKumar.
The love for Rocker is warranted. He’s pitched 114.2 innings at Vanderbilt, posting a 3.06 ERA. With the Commodores he’s allowed just two home runs (0.2 HR/9), walked 29 batters, hit 10, and struck out 142.
Rocker put himself on the map as a freshman in 2019. He was named the Baseball America Freshman of the Year, as well as the College World Series Most Outstanding Player. He set a Vanderbilt record with 11 strikeouts in the College World Series against Michigan, and posted a 1.46 ERA in two starts against the Wolverines.
On June 8th, 2019, Rocker threw Vanderbilt’s first no-hitter since 1971. He also became the first pitcher in NCAA history to throw a no-hitter in the NCAA Tournament super regional, as well as becoming just hte 8th pitcher to throw a no-hitter in NCAA Tournament history.
Rocker possesses a power fastball and a wipeout slider. His change up needs to improve as his third pitch, he also needs to improve on repeating his delivery, but he has the stuff to be a bonafide ace for a long time in MLB.
Entering the 2020 season Rocker was a consensus first-team All-American. While the COVID-19 pandemic limited him to just three starts and 15 innings, he posted a 1.80 ERA and led the Commodores with 28 strikeouts.
Will the Pittsburgh Pirates draft Rocker in July? Well, as a wise man once said, only time will tell. However, barring anything unforseen happening with Rocker this spring and summer, he seems like a safe bet to be selected by the Bucs with the top pick in the draft.