MLB Draft 2022: Next step for Kumar Ruker after not joining the Mets includes promoting an independent team

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Former Vanderbilt right-hand shooter Kumar Rucker has signed with the Tri-City Valleycats of the Frontier League, ESPN’s Jeff Bassan reports. The Frontier League is an independent league (you sometimes hear leagues like this referred to as “Indy Bowl” and have nothing to do with Indianapolis), which means there is no association with Major League Baseball. As such, Rocker would be eligible to be drafted again.

It’s an interesting story.

Rocker was one of the biggest names to enter the 2021 MLB Draft. He threw a 19 hits no hitter At the 2019 Super Regional for Vanderbilt as a freshman and he ended up winning the College World Series MVP award as Vandy claimed his second national title.

In three years for Vanderbilt, Rocker was going 28-10 with a 2.89 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 321 strike for 68 walks in 236 2/3 innings. As last season approached, there was a chance that he would be the first overall pick. He was, along with fellow Vanderbilt’s Jack Leiter, the biggest name on the draft. However, his speed was starting to wane down the sprawl and there were concerns about his health.

This all added to Rocker’s drop to 10th place in the draft, when he was selected by the Mets. Once the Mets had a look at his medical services (the MRI of his right elbow was said to be a concern), The negotiations ended up nowhere. The Mets wanted Rocker to sign for much less than the slot number while Rocker and his agent, Scott Boras, did not own it.

Boras released a statement at the time saying that Rucker “is in good health according to an independent medical review by several of the most prominent orthopedic surgeons in baseball.” Boras added that Rucker does not need medical attention and will continue to play in the regular tournament as he prepares to start his professional career.

This brings us to the Rocker signing with the Valleycats.

Round one of the 2022 MLB Draft is on Sunday, July 17, because it’s now part of All-Star Week. Rocker will have between then and now to showcase his skills to MLB scouts.

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