The New York Mets added one of the best pitchers in college baseball history to its organization on Sunday evening when they selected Vanderbilt right-hander Kumar Rocker 10th overall in the 2021 MLB Draft.
Rocker isn't the first professional athlete in his family, however. His father, Tracy Rocker, played in the NFL for two seasons with the Washington Football Team, appearing in 24 games and starting 17 of them, even making the NFL's All-Rookie team in 1989.
After hanging up the cleats in 1992, the elder Rocker has been a football coach ever since. Earlier this year, he joined Nick Sirianni's staff in Philadelphia as the Eagles' defensive line coach after recent stops at SEC schools Auburn, South Carolina and Tennessee.
As for the younger Rocker, he's been one of the most famous and hyped-up MLB draftees in recent memory. At Vanderbilt in 2019, Rocker was named the Most Outstanding Player of the College World Series as a true freshman, highlighted by a 19-strikeout no-hitter he threw against Duke in the Super Regional Round.
Even after the 2020 college baseball season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rocker's status had already been elevated to likely No. 1 overall pick in this July's draft entering the 2021 season. Rocker turned in an exceptional season for Vanderbilt once again, going 14-4 with a 2.73 ERA and 0.934 WHIP. But because of a few shaky outings and some questions about his command, Rocker slipped to the No. 10 pick, where the Mets happily selected him.
Those Washington Football Team fans that also root for the hometown Nationals were hoping to see Rocker slip one more pick, as the Nats held the 11th overall selection. Had Rocker still been available, it's hard to imagine Washington -- a franchise that has heavily built itself on dominant starting pitching -- would have passed on the Vanderbilt ace.
Instead, Rocker is now headed to the NL East, where the Nationals will likely have to face him several times in the future.
On the bright side for Nationals fans, the club selected prep shortstop Brady House, a player who was projected to have been drafted earlier than 11th and one most scouts believe has incredible upside. MLB Network gave both the Mets and Nationals an A grade for their first-round selections.