Former Mets draft pick and starting pitcher Kumar Rocker will undergo Tommy John surgery “later this week,” according to a report by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News on Tuesday.
Selected 10th overall by the Mets in the 2021 draft, the Vanderbilt product ultimately opted not to sign with the club after his physical revealed an elbow issue. The two sides had agreed to a $6 million signing bonus pending that physical before tests were done.
While the Mets released a short, blunt statement wishing Rocker the best after things fell through, the 23-year-old right-hander’s agent, Scott Boras, implored that his client was healthy.
“Kumar Rocker is healthy according to independent medical review by multiple prominent baseball orthopedic surgeons,” Boras said at the time. “Immediately upon the conclusion of his collegiate season, he had an MRI on both his shoulder and his elbow. When compared with his 2018 MRIs, the medical experts found no significant change. Kumar requires no medical attention and will continue to pitch in the regular course as he prepares to begin his professional career.”
Rocker, who went 28-10 with a 2.89 ERA in three collegiate seasons, re-entered the draft in 2022 where he was chosen by the Texas Rangers third overall.
He began the 2023 season with the Rangers’ high-A affiliate, the Hickory Crawdads, and was 2-2 with a 3.86 ERA across six starts.
“I put it behind me,” Rocker said of the Mets to the New York Post during spring training. “That’s their business. I have no communication with them. I didn’t have it then. And I don’t have it now. It is what it is. My job is to throw a baseball. That’s what I’m going to continue to do.
“And I don’t feel like anyone’s going to get in the way as I’m doing what I need to do. It’s unfortunate. But things happen.”