Right-handed pitcher Kumar Rocker, whom the New York Mets drafted with the No. 10 overall pick last year but didn’t sign, is auditioning for teams for the upcoming 2022 draft.
The Tri-City ValleyCats of the independent Frontier League announced Friday they’d agreed to terms with Rocker, who won the College World Series with Vanderbilt in 2019. He was voted the Most Outstanding Player of the series.
Rocker, 22, was named an All-American in 2021 after going 14-4 with a 2.73 ERA and 179 strikeouts in 122 innings.
The Mets didn’t sign Rocker last year after a physical exam raised concerns about the health of his arm, ESPN reported at the time.
Scott Boras, Rocker’s agent, disputed that the pitcher had any physical ailments.
“Kumar Rocker is healthy according to independent medical review by multiple prominent baseball orthopedic surgeons,” Boras said in a statement to media outlets last summer. “Immediately upon conclusion of his collegiate season, he had an MRI on both his shoulder and his elbow. When compared with his 2018 MRIs, the medical experts found no significant change.”
When the Mets walked away from signing Rocker, the pitcher didn’t receive a previously agreed-upon $6 million signing bonus.
Because they didn’t sign Rocker, the Mets will receive the 11th pick in the 2022 draft as compensation.
The ValleyCats, who play their home games in Troy, N.Y., began their season on Thursday.
Rocker will have two months to impress major league scouts. The 2022 MLB Draft begins July 17, with the Baltimore Orioles picking first.