Tuesday appeared as though it would be a day of celebration for Texas Rangers prospect Kumar Rocker.
Players have accrued enough service time to graduate from the Top 100 Prospect lists. This led to several openings, allowing Rocker to take his spot amongst that group. Then, within the hour, Rocker was removed from that list as it was announced that he would need Tommy John surgery, ending his 2023 season and putting 2024 in doubt. Giants infielder Casey Schmitt took his spot in the updated list.
Texas Rangers prospect Kumar Rocker has roller coaster of Tuesday
It is easy to see why Rocker would be considered a top prospect. He has three plus offerings – a mid 90s fastball, a low 80s curve, and a wipeout slider that drew plenty of attention during his collegiate days. That arsenal had been enough for Rocker to post a 3.86 ERA and a 1.000 WHiP over his 28 innings in the South Atlantic League, striking out 42 batters with just seven walks. He was starting to become the pitcher that he was expected to be during his Vanderbilt days.
But there were still concerns. Rocker has an impressive arsenal, but there was plenty of reliever risk in his profile. There were also injury concerns, especially when the Mets did not sign him after their own questions with his shoulder and elbow. While he was certainly worth the risk for the Rangers, he had plenty of questions as well.
Those questions will now get even louder. Rocker may not pitch at all in 2024, leaving a return in 2025. Although he appeared to be on his way to a mid-season promotion to Frisco, he has not pitched above High-A. He will also be 25 years old when he comes back without much of an affiliated track record. It is possible he can still be a weapon in Texas, but it is a matter of time.
Texas Rangers prospect Kumar Rocker was part of the Top 100 Prospects list for an hour. Then came news that he needs Tommy John surgery.