Nashville isn’t noted for its similarities to New York. Mets director of amateur scouting Mark Tramuta said Sunday, though, that Nashville is the “New York City of college baseball,” which would make Vanderbilt a big-market team at the college level.
That’s part of why the Mets, and the player himself, think 2021 MLB Draft pick and Vanderbilt RHP Kumar Rocker will eventually thrive in Queens.
“It’s another animal,” Rocker, whom the Mets selected as a first-rounder at No. 10 overall, said Sunday. “That’s what I feel like I was made for.”
Rocker played in two College World Series while in Nashville, leading Vanderbilt to the 2019 title and earning Most Outstanding player.
“I’ve exhausted everything in college baseball, from the highs to the lows,” Rocker said. “Moving to New York, it’s a bigger spotlight. When I get to the point and that chance, I’m going to try to make the most of it.”
Rocker, who entered the 2021 season with Vanderbilt as a popular pick to eventually go No. 1 overall, wound up falling improbably to the Mets at No. 10.
For the team’s brass, it was a complete surprise that he was available during their turn. For Rocker, it was just about being ready when his name was called.
“There was no expectations at all,” Rocker said. “Just sitting and waiting, the right opportunity was gonna come.”