The Mets are expected to sign first-round pick Kumar Rocker for a $6MM signing bonus, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The tenth overall pick, with which Rocker was selected, comes with a slot value of $4.7399MM. The deal is pending a physical.
New York’s overall bonus pool is $9.0263MM, meaning Rocker will unsurprisingly receive the bulk of the allotment. Teams are allowed to exceed their bonus pool by five percent before forfeiting future draft choices, leaving the Mets with about $3.478MM to spread around for their picks between the second and tenth round. Aside from second-rounder Calvin Ziegler, the Mets went with college draftees on Day Two, which will allow them to cut under-slot deals elsewhere to accommodate Rocker’s bonus.
Rocker’s reported $6MM bonus lands between the slot values of the fifth and sixth overall selections. It’s not especially surprising he commanded an over-slot bonus given his high profile. Rocker entered the 2021 amateur season among the candidates to wind up as the first overall pick. The Vanderbilt righty’s stuff waxed and waned a little bit throughout the season, taking him out of the 1.1 mix, but he nonetheless dominated opposing hitters. Rocker worked to a 2.73 ERA for the national runners-up, finishing second among Division I hurlers (behind teammate Jack Leiter) with 173 strikeouts over 117 2/3 innings.
That performance kept Rocker among the class’ top prospects. Each of Baseball America, MLB Pipeline and Keith Law of the Athletic placed him among the six most talented players in this year’s group, with each outlet slotting him behind only Leiter among college arms. The inconsistency of his stuff this spring presented a bit of concern for evaluators, but Rocker’s plus fastball-slider combination when he’s at his best gives him one of the higher ceilings in the class.