Rangers prospect Kumar Rocker will have Tommy John surgery, reports Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
Rocker, 23, has a higher profile than the typical High-A prospect given the drama that has surrounded him in recent years. He was one of the most highly-touted youngsters going into the 2021 draft and was selected 10th overall by the Mets. Shortly after the draft, it was reported that he and the club were going to agree to a $6MM signing bonus, above the $4.7399MM slot value for the pick. However, the two sides would eventually be unable to come to an agreement when the club reportedly grew concerned by something in Rocker’s right elbow.
Having his plans to jump into affiliated ball scuttled, Rocker pivoted to sign with the Tri-City ValleyCats of the independent Frontier League, eventually tossing 20 innings for them last summer. The Rangers then selected him with the third overall pick in last year’s draft, quickly agreeing to terms on a $5.2MM bonus that was below the $7,587,600 slot value of the pick.
After all of that runaround, Rocker was finally able to join the affiliated ranks this year. He made six starts for the High-A Hickory Crawdads, posting a 3.86 ERA in 28 innings. He struck out a huge 37.8% of batters faced against a 6.3% walk rate, getting grounders at a 51.6% clip. Earlier today, MLB Pipeline tweeted that they had just added Rocker to their list of the top 100 prospects in the league, just about 25 minutes before the news dropped that he would have to go under the knife.
Rocker will now be out of action for the rest of 2023 and at least part of 2024 as well, given the typical 14 to 18 months required to rehab from Tommy John surgery. It’s an unfortunate setback for a pitcher who has already dealt with a few twists and turns on his road to the big leagues. He isn’t yet on the club’s 40-man roster and won’t even be Rule 5 eligible until after the 2025 season.
Damn. He was pitching well too
Fever Pitch Guy
big – At least he lasted until Age 23 before needing TJS.
That’s 6 years later than when Eovaldi had his first, and only 3 years before Nate had his second.
Mets Doctors 1, Texas Doctors 0.
2 – 0, if you’re counting DeGrom. (I hate to say it, because Jake was my favorite Met since his call-up)
If Correa hurts his ankle they’ll be 3-0 with an assist from the Giants
*starts popping the popcorn*
someone check that man’s birth certificate…no way the guy pictured is 23
Dude looks older than me and I’m on the wrong half of my 30s lol
Mets vindicated it would seem, although I’m not sure it ever officially came out as to what their exact concerns were.
Imagine if this WAS the issue though. Rocker could have gotten TJ’s 2 years ago and would have been pitching by last year sometime. Instead, he wasted a year in the independent league and now sees this season go up in flames.
I’m sure he probably would have gotten a smaller payday, so I can’t blame him for trying to secure the most money he could. But I wonder if he wishes he changed his approach in hindsight.
Little Stevie Janowsky
Lolmets how are they vindicated they are in last place and the joke of MLB
uhh… because they drafted him 2 years ago and then failed to sign him after injury concerns came up during his medical? guessing by your comment here and elsewhere though you are just a troll account anyways
No one was calling the Braves a clown org after their horrendous start last year. But clearly this guy has an axe to grind.
Are they though? The Yankees suck. Cardinals suck. Padres suck. The Mets are hanging around with a completely eviscerated roster.
How can you give credit to the Mets and dump on the Yankees when the Yankees have a winning record and currently retain one of the wildcard spots, even though they’ve also suffered several significant injuries? Cards are 3 games back of the Mets at the moment. The Padres are 1.5 games back.
Seems to me they latter two are “hanging around” as well. Either that or say the Mets suck as well.
The Cardinals are the joke of MLB.
Cardinals have been in the playoffs 16 of the last 23 seasons and have two WS rings. I’m not a fan of theirs but they’re an excellent organization.
I said ‘are’.
Bronxmac77, has it been difficult waiting 25 years for the Cardinals to actually be in last place at the end of one month to crow about?
The Cardinals are a joke.
There’s nothing about the last 25 years in that fact.
So they are a joke this year? You know they do have a positive run differential so it will likely sort itself out. On the other hand, you will likely be a sad joke every year the rest of your life as you relish others’ misfortune. Just remember when times get tough that you’ll always have early season 2023 to look back to for comfort.
I’m not relishing anything.
I’m stating an opinion.
Fifteenth out of 15. I’m no mathematician…but that’s pretty bad.
They’re vindicated because they were right about rockers medical concerns? What does their placement in the standings on May 16 have to do with this lmao
Little Stevie Janowsky
Lolmets how are they vindicated they are in last place
What does that have to do with the comment?
Like most of the country, I enjoy taking a shot at the Cohen’s, but when someone posts that the NYM were vindicated in their Rocker decision, posting, incorrectly, that they are in last place is meaningless.
Mets gotta feel 10-feet tall right now and strong as a Ox! 😉
Lets Go DBacks
I don’t think the Mets were concerned by the possible TJ, but I guess they decided they didn’t want to sign Kumar Rocker for a low signing bonus and would rather forego and pick in the following year’s draft at spot 11.
The Mets had issues about his arm after the physical after they agreed to a deal with a $million bonus. They wanted to renegotiate for a lower bonus but Roscker/Boras would not agree to that. Boras claimed there was nothing wrong with Rocker’s arm and trashed the Mets and their physical…..
At least the Rangers got 2 1/3 more innings out of DeGrom so far year than they did out of Rocker. Let’s hope Rocker’s contract doesn’t have a clause mandating he be added to the 40-man roster after year 3 in professional baseball.
Boras clients are used over-hyped and over-priced.
The Mets are vindicated by the way this story played out, while the Rangers look like they were fooled by baseball’s version of Mister Haney. C
Not sure how the Mets are vindicated with anything until and unless Kevin Parada, whom they took with the makeup pick, becomes their everyday catcher.
The Texas Rangers put themselves in a very precarious position come 2025. They will have to add Rocker to their 40 man roster after what will be his first full season in affiliated one baseball. One full season (2025) plus the 6 starts this season and maybe another 6 at the end of 2024. No way would I rather have Rocker than Parada in my farm system. TJ surgeries are so common now that the regular fan takes their outcome for granted. Rocker could be as good as he has shown potential to be after the operation, or he could be less than he was thought he could be. He could be the next Nate Eavoldi, or the next Matt Harvey post-TJ surgery ( at least Harvey had big league success before his TJ. Kumar has had his 6 games in A ball).
This is where the lovely use of the “mute” button come in handy. Bye little stevie forever. Just trolling wasting everyone’s time and adding zero value
I wouldn’t say they’re vindicated until it’s actually seen how he performs at the major league level. So many pitchers inevitably have TJS, that it doesn’t really mean he’ll wind up toast.
If he still winds up fairly successful, the Mets probably still lose by likely trying to save a few million. I think if he winds up as a solid number 2 or 3 starter, it’s still a miss for them.
Cmon, he needed TJS within 30 innings of signing with another MLB organization.
They were right. It’s okay to admit it.
You missed his point. A large percentage of pitchers have TJS. It’s not shocking that another pitcher has to have TJS. What will really decide if the Mets “won” is how he does going forward. If he ends up having a solid MLB career, they didn’t “win.”
Mets need a W right now any way they can get it be it on or off the field.
They wouldn’t sign him with the issue. I mean yeah it would have been nice tho
Wasted a year in the independent league? He turned that into still going #3 overall (shockingly) for a $5.2M signing bonus that was still underslot value ($7.59M). TEX took a chance on his upside, while still saving some to devote to other picks.
While this is definitely a speed bump, the silver lining is that it means less miles on a 27-year old arm than most that have been in the league for years.
That’s the ultimate extreme of the absurdity of the modern notion that pitching is bad for pitchers: the claim that it’s good for a 27 year old to have missed a couple years with surgery because that means he wasted fewer of his lifetime allotment of pitches.
It doesn’t work that way. The best predictor of future injury is not pitch count, but past injury. Your first tommy john leaves you more vulnerable to a second, and to all sorts of other injuries that arise when you try to ramp up from nothing and parts compensate for other parts. Human bodies like routine.
Who is claiming that it’s “good” for him to miss time? Are you familiar with what a silver lining is?
Mets were concerned about his right elbow. The Rangers have seen several arms thru TJS, including Yu Darvish. This is the set back of set backs, but I think he’ll come back strong in the end.
Rocker could have gotten TJ’s 2 years ago and would have been pitching by last year sometime.
I said the same thing when they drafted him and it went sideways. Boras stupidly dug in. They should’ve gotten multiple experts opinions, agreed on surgery, and agreed on a reduced bonus.
Instead, Rocker will be 25 before he throws another pitch, 26 earliest before he hits the pros, and 32 earliest in his first FA year.
Isn’t the time-line ideal for the Rangers? They will have him under control in his prime. And Rocker has secured almost $ 6m already – in spite of the Mets’ medical concerns.
lol at the Mets being “vindicated”, they’re the dummies for picking him the first time. And perhaps it’s worked out to this point with the comp pick, but c’mon now, predicting a pitcher will have TJS is like predicting the sun will rise.
Every time I see Rockers name George Bush’s voice pops in my head, “let me ask you something there kumar”
The most underwritten sentence in modern media ….
Mets were right.
Little Stevie Janowsky
Lolmets have never been right about anything
Except their decision not Kumat
Something about a broken clock or a blind squirrel.
deGrom Texas Ranger
Out of nowhere!
Concern was his arm. Vindicated they are.
Harold’s on his own now.
Now he’ll have more time to spend with Harold at White Castle
Beat me to it.
Then his digestive tract will be a bigger problem than his elbow.
It’s all good, Neil Patrick Harris will pay the medical bills.
NPH is what makes it great to live in America. That dude was gone. Then he gets a stupid role in a low-budget movie, absolutely crushes it, and becomes a huge star again.
He may have to fight off sliderwithcheese. That’s his home away from home when he isn’t gratifying himself every time Cardinals do poorly. Come to think of it I have hardly heard from him this past week since they have played well.
Seems the rangers picked up mets players for fun and it aint working out.
Tho they have the better record for sure and they’re a better team currently than the mets. If the mets are pushing them off for injury concens other teams should take notice. Half the mets rotation is on the IL or was.
mets were right
Steve Cohen right now: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Nice picture. I’ll bet you’re good with etch-a-sketch too.
Kumar Rocker joining the annals of big hype prospects who never made it out of the minors.
I fail to see how this is career ending…?
I fail to see how you thought I implied it was career ending? He can and still does have a career- in the minors, not the majors.
“joining” means in the process of- it’s an active description. He may yet get a major league career but right now it looks like he’s a guy with big hype status who’s body and skillsets won’t make that transition from the minors to the majors.
He’s 23, TTO. Many guys in the Majors had TJS at or before that age. Let’s give him every opportunity to heal and rebound before we cast him off as a ne’er-been-there guy.
I can’t think of the guys name, but several years ago there was a high school pitcher in Texas that the national media went crazy about. He was the no.1 pick for the Rangers (I think) and went straight to the majors. While he never made it out of the minors because he was never there before pitching in the majors, he didn’t last very long. His career ended quickly.
That was David Clyde. It was quite a few years ago. The Rangers brought him up to the majors, I believe at 18. He got shelled, lost his confidence, and was never any good.
Thanks, baseballhistory. That was 1973. He only played five years and had an 18-33 record. They should’ve started him in the minors.
I understand the context here, but it sucks for the kid. Pitched his guts out in college, got hurt, tried to make a go of it.
Now he’s looking at being a prospect again at the age of 25 and at best making the bigs at 27.
First sensible comment here. Boy has MLBTR comment section devolved.
It’s hard to believe, but as recently as 2016, this place was extremely civil. All baseball discussion; no fan trolling. It was bliss. And then ESPN closed their message boards and it was all over.
Yes, feel bad for Rocker. Do not fell bad in the least for Scott Boras as he bashed the Mets over Rocker and the Giants and Mets over Correa bigly when the teams balked at signing players after physicals when he claimed publicly that his go clients had no health issues.
Definitely. I understand Boras job is to advocate for his clients but those were both bad moves on his part. You can’t expect teams to buy damaged players.
I understand Boras job is to advocate for his clients
But Boras did a really bad job. He got a few more dollars on the front end. but by deferring the surgery, he basically ensures Rocker is unlikely to get one of those huge contracts.
Pitched his guts out in college, got hurt, tried to make a go of it.
I was watching that WS game, and even then I thought it was insane to have a kid that age throw 138 (?) pitches. The NCAA needs to set rules about both pitch count and total innings.
He’s a multi millionaire, he’ll be fine.
everyone but the Rangers knew he was going to need tommy john surgery soon. all pitchers should dread being drafted by the Rangers. they can’t develop pitching. the last good pitcher they developed was over 30 years ago and that was Kevin Brown
CJ Wilson, Martin Perez, Derek Holland. Granted the last few years have been rough but 30 is a stretch haha
they were decent pitchers but not on the Kevin Brown level. you could also throw Bobby Witt in if your talking decent mid rotation guys. I think Perez had a fluke year. He’s back to his 4.50 era again. I sure hope he gets back to the way he was last year.
I didn’t say they were Kevin Brown level…
“everyone but the Rangers knew he was going to need tommy john surgery soon.”
I thought his previous issues were shoulder related?
Scott Boras said there was nothing wrong with this kid and that he has a rubber arm. Zack Scott was right to pass up on him in the 2021 draft
Anyone that listens to the shady, lie -a-minute Scott Boras, deserves to get burnt.
Mets were just sayyyyyyin….:
Bet not a lot of teams are now trusting Scott Boras when he claims his clients are 100% healthy with no issues……
When the Rangers told him they wanted him to be the next DeGrom I don’t think this is what they meant.
All the never ending injuries and surgeries in baseball lol. No end in sight. At least we have pitch counts and innings limits!
Scott Boras does not enter his negotiations in good faith and should not be a licensed agent in this or any other sport.
Boras tries to get the best deal he can for his clients, i.e. he does his job.
I understand everyone’s concern over which team was right or which team was wrong. The victim here is the young player. Kumar got bad advice and will have wasted years rehabbing when he could have been pitching in the major leagues.
The player must take responsibility for his own decisions. No pitcher wants to get tj surgery, if there is an alternative. Some pitchers rehab without the surgery, but most are just delaying the inevitable.
He’s not a victim.
Is my logic way out of line here-
Acknowledging and conveniently ignoring the fact going under anesthesia and opening up the human body is not without risk, why don’t players and prospects with an obvious and MRI confirmed timebomb for a UCL preemptively have TJS to hasten the inevitable and a return to better earning potential?
Try finding a legitimate doctor who is willing to risk his license/insurance premiums to perform such a surgery with no medical necessity. You could hit Tijuana or The Netherlands, but teams would look side-eyed at those medical records.
This is actually a thing. It’s not common but there have been high potential high school pitchers that have gotten preemptive TJS. The Rangers themselves actually had a prospect, Matt Copland, that did it to “get it out of the way.”
“Getting it out of the way” is the opposite of “first, do no harm.”
Is my logic way out of line here
Not out of line, but it is not linear either.
If you are 21, and the elbow is kind of okay, you might be better off waiting a few years.. Get three years of salary, then the TJS, 18 months of rehab, and you’re pitching again before free agency.
But Boras, Rocker, and the NYMs probably would’ve been right to reduce the bonus in exchange for immediate surgery. then he’d have likely been pitching today, and likely in the pros in late 2024.
You might have a socio-politcal quandary
With that Tommy John, Rocker!
Well, of course.
A good lesson is that the Mets are terrible at keeping their guys healthy, and if THEY think someone is too big of a risk, you probably want to stay far away.
You KNEW this was coming
All the Mets fans spiking the football is hilarious.
but if he comes back from TJ like a superstar todays spike might be more of a d’oh
The chance that any particular prospect becomes a superstar is low. He’ll be ~25 before he pitches above A+. I don’t think you really need to d’oh if he beats the odds and becomes a superstar.
Not a revelation – but when Boras shifts to denial mode on anything, this is a common outcome. Regardless – heal up young man
High Risk/High Reward draft pick
Texas gets the risk but there is still a possible reward in the future lurking
So, the Mets were right about his elbow.
I hate this more than anything about the sport. The rare talent that is snuffed out from injury. There’s still time for Rocker but man this hurts.
Most pitchers go through TJ at least once. I certainly wish it was t a guy we paid 7.5mil, but with that hard slider I’m not surprised. He will likely come back throwing harder though and that will be a plus. At the end of the day, these things happen. I just pray he has a smooth recovery. He’s got great stuff I’d like to see I. Arlington some day.
At least he got $5.2MM to start his career. Most get little to start their careers. That’s what many would finally reach in their first year of arbitration. He may get a slow start to his career, but he got a head start on his career earnings.
The human elbow is not designed to throw 92mph sliders repeatedly without consequence. Its a bummer deal, but pitchers and teams seem more than willing to assume the risks. Hopefully his rehab is a success and he can still have a good career, as for all tjs guys. Just a long haul to get back to baseline. Good luck Mr Rocker.
So the Mets were proven right on Rocker and Correa. Well done. Those signings woulda resulted in another $100 million or more in wasted money.
Rangers FO making decisions based on potential not probability. deGrom and Rocker were both known to be damaged goods. No way either would have found employment with most of the other teams. For a team that’s supposed to be highly competitive in 23-24 taking Rocker and giving deGrom a long term contract was a real mistake.
Same thing happened with Aiken. Astros declined to give him a contract because of concerns about his elbow, never made it to AA. Astros were destroyed by the media for not giving money to a kid that was a ticking time bomb.
Bregman was a good consolation prize. In all seriousness though, HOU deserved some flak taking such a risky #1 to begin with. HS arms are very tricky.
It would be hilarious if the surgeon’s name is Harold…
TB Sox NY
Isn’t it a prerequisite to have TJS sometime in your pitching career?It does seem like every pitchers has had it or some kind of arm trouble in the career from High school through the Major Leagues if they get that far.