At one point not so long ago, Kumar Rocker was rumored to be the potential No. 1 pick in the 2021 MLB Draft.
But the hard-throwing Vanderbilt right-hander fell — all the way into the Mets’ lap at No. 10 — in the first round of the draft Sunday night.
Rocker was second in the country in strikeouts, after teammate and second overall pick Jack Leiter, with 173 strikeouts in 117.2 innings. He helped the Commodores reach the College World Series.
A source said there were whispers of high money demands and his velocity was slightly down this year, which could have contributed to Rocker sliding down the draft board.
Still, Rocker went 14-4 and compiled a 2.73 ERA. MLB.com rated him as the sixth-best prospect in the draft.
“I think New York really got a steal at No. 10,” MLB Network draft analyst Jim Callis said shortly after the selection.
The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Rocker became the first college pitcher the Mets have taken in the first round since David Peterson in 2017.