By JOHN KEKIS, AP Sports Writer
TROY, N.Y. (AP) — Former Vanderbilt star right-hander Kumar Rocker returned to the mound Saturday night time with the Class A Tri-City ValleyCats of the impartial Frontier League, and his first expertise as a professional ended after 4 innings of labor.
With a number of main league scouts and a close to sellout crowd of 4,088 at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium on hand to get a glimpse of Rocker’s first sport since final June 30, the hard-throwing, 6-foot-5, 245-pounder breezed via the first three innings in opposition to the Trois-Rivieres Aigles, his fastball topping out at over 98 mph. He threw 38 pitches and struck out 5, all however the first one swinging, and allowed only a bloop single to left discipline by the second batter he confronted, second baseman Ricardo Sanchez.
But Rocker bumped into hassle in the fourth, hitting the leadoff batter and tossing a wild pitch that prompted Tri-City supervisor Pete Incaviglia to make a quick go to to the mound with cleanup hitter Carlos Martinez at the plate. Rocker stayed in and allowed a two-run homer to left discipline to Martinez on the eighth pitch of an extended at-bat for a 2-0 lead.
That was it for Rocker. He confronted 16 batters, threw 60 pitches, 43 for strikes, struck out six, didn’t stroll a batter, and allowed two earned runs.
Three years in the past, Rocker led Vanderbilt to a College World Series title as a freshman and as a junior was drafted No. 10 total final 12 months by the New York Mets. He then walked away from the Mets when the two sides failed to achieve an settlement by the August deadline due to considerations over the well being of Rocker’s proper arm. He was the solely first-rounder to not signal. To compensate for not signing Rocker, New York acquired one other first-round choose this 12 months.
The 22-year-old Rocker signed a minor league contract with Tri-City in mid-May that may maintain him lively till the MLB draft in July.
At Vanderbilt, Rocker was a three-year standout and posted a 2.89 ERA in 42 video games (39 begins), main the Commodores to a nationwide championship in 2019. He was named MVP of the College World Series, racking up 44 strikeouts in 28 postseason innings, together with a 19-strikeout no-hitter in the NCAA Super Regional in opposition to Duke. His ERA was a microscopic 0.96 in 4 postseason begins.
He went 28-10 for Vandy and opted not to return to school after not signing with the Mets, coaching as an alternative on his personal. The brief stint with the ValleyCats will enable him to get again in the groove of stay motion.
Rocker’s draft prospects are unsure since scouts have not been capable of see him throw till now, however he nonetheless may go on the first spherical once more, although not as excessive. He’s anticipated to make no less than three extra begins in June for TriValley.
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