Sunday, October 8, 2017

Scouting the 2018 Draft: Kumar Rocker

I have to confess that when I first heard about Kumar Rocker, my mental picture was of a football lineman throwing a baseball hard.  Maybe a future Closer?  When I dug into it more and watched several videos, Rocker is more like an edge rusher throwing a baseball which is a truly impressive sight!  Ethan Hankins is an exciting prospect for what he can become.  Rocker is exciting for what he already is.  While projection and upside are important considerations in scouting, If a prospect is already monstrously strong and hitting 98 MPH, projection and upside become moot issues.  We're already there!

Kumar is the son of College Football hall of famer Tracy Rocker and has a football player's body.  Outside linebacker is the position that seems to come most often to scouts minds.  At 6'5", 250 lbs, of big bones and muscle, think of a more physical version of last year's #3 overall pick, Hunter Greene.  If you watch videos of him pitching, he's lot more than just a physical specimen.  He uses his massively strong lower have to drive and easy delivery with good extension producing a fastball that explodes over the plate.  He backs that up with a sharp breaking slider and an emerging changeup.  Here is Perfect Game's scouting report:

"Physically imposing build.  Lots of lower half strength.  Low effort delivery.  Arm is fast, loose and easy.  Shows fastball command and can spot it up to both sides of the plate.  Mid-80's slider flashes sharpness.  Feel for spinning it.  Developing changeup with sinking action."

On the PG update:  "Up to 98 and now with a power breaking ball.  Fun to watch him pitch.  Dominant summer.  PG All-American."  PG has him as the top prospect in the current prep class.  He is a good student and is committed to Vanderbilt, but should sign if he's a top 5-10 pick which he easily should be barring injury.

I have to say I am blown away by this kid.  No dis to Ethan Hankins, but I'll take the present physicality over projection in a second.  Kumar is a big kid, but I see the body aging well.  He should become a SP who can take the ball every 5 games and pitch deep into games year after year.


So, with 3 pitching draft prospect profiled so far, I'll start my draft board.  This board will be a living organism that changes as we add more profiles and go into the 2018 season and approach the draft.

DrB's 2018 Draft Board:

1. Kumar Rocker, RHP, HS.
2. Ethan Hankins, RHP, HS.
3. Brady Singer, RHP, College(Florida).


  1. Would love either Hankins or Rocker at this point. Seems to be lots of good high school prospects this draft. Would not be surprised to see a really good one drop to the Giants in the 2nd round. I would also not be surprised if at some point Singer dropped off your top 3 prior to the draft.

  2. I've read about Rocker, too. He's another outstanding HS pitcher. I think you're right when you're talking about 'he's here' when it comes to his physical development.

    And he is the other prep-star pitcher that I really liked. Honestly, I think between Hankins and Rocker, there is no way the Giants could make a 'bad' choice if they took one over the other. Or even Singer, though I'd rather gamble on the HSers.

  3. I commented earlier that Rocker is my favorite of the pitching prospects and so far he still is with Hankins a close second and Singer third. I guess my only criticism (and it's pretty nit-picky) is I'd like to see him tighten up the delivery just a hair as it looks like he gets a little lax and almost casual with it sometimes. But that's a real minor criticism, of course I love that his delivery is so low effort, and his athleticism and fluid delivery are real impressive too.

    I love the size and strength, too. Reminds me of Bumgarner in the sense that he's "a man" as Bochy described, and going deep into start after start doesn't look like it would be a problem at all. When I first saw video of him the name that popped into my head was Kenley Jansen except a younger and SP version. Definitely excited about him.

  4. Kenley Jansen is exactly who I thought of also, and the potential of having a pitcher like that in the starting rotation is breathtaking. My only concern is that I have read that Rocker can be a bit more hittable at times than expected, suggesting that his fastball may sometimes straighten out or his command wavers at times. Whereas Rocker has more current stuff and velocity than Hankins, the latter has the edge on command and pitchability at this time, with the potential for added velocity. Of course, development can help iron out those weaknesses and one point in favor of Rocker is that he is 6 months younger than Hankins- the latter will have just turned 19 at the time of the draft, a bit old for a HS draftee. Ultimately the Giants are guaranteed the chance at obtaining one of them, and with true ace pitching being the rarest commodity in the sport, I would be happy with the chance for either prospect.