Pittsburgh Pirates Draft: Kumar Rocker Dominates


The Pittsburgh Pirates have the first overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft.  A top prospect performed well last night.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have the first pick in the MLB Draft for the first time since 2011 when they selected Gerrit Cole from UCLA.  The club is in a clear rebuild and getting as much talent as possible is important.  By picking first overall, the club will have a great opportunity to add an impact player with the first pick.  The Pirates also have the largest bonus pool, giving them the potential to get creative and more aggressive in the draft.

One big college player to watch is Vanderbilt right-handed pitcher Kumar Rocker.  Rocker was a top prep arm three years ago but had a high bonus demand and as a result he landed on campus.  While there is some concern about the command, Rocker shows a plus fastball and a plus slider, with a track record of missing bats.  Different outlets have him as the second best or third best prospect in the draft, but college players early has been the trend in the MLB Draft in recent years.

Last night against the University of Illinois-Chicago, Rocker threw six innings of one run ball.  He showed the strikeout stuff, striking out 11 of 23 batters faced and he induced six groundouts.  He walked one, hit one, and threw a wild pitch, but Rocker looked the part of a top pick.  It was a big game for him and one that could try to even the gap with his teammate Jack Leiter.

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In terms of games to watch today, Jack Leiter will pitch for Vanderbilt and try to keep pace with Rocker.  Boston College has two players – center fielder Sal Frelick and shortstop Cody Morissette – with the latter being a potential second round pick.  Louisville has a potential second pick in center fielder Levi Usher.  Florida showcases center fielder Jud Fabian and catcher Nathan Hickey, a potential top five pick and a riser.  UCLA top prospect and potential first overall pick Matt McClain goes against USC.  There’s a lot of good college baseball on today (USC v UCLA, Miami v NC State, Louisville v Georgia Tech) that provides an opportunity to watch some top draft prospects.