Tag Archives: Tri-City ValleyCats

Kumar Rocker’s Stint in Frontier League Pays Off, Drafted Third Overall in 2022 MLB Draft

The third time really does seem to be the charm for Kumar Rocker after being selected as the third overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft by the Texas Rangers.

Rocker was previously drafted out of high school in the 38th round in 2018 by the Colorado Rockies and out of Vanderbilt University in the 1st round (10th overall) by the New York Mets last year but did not sign either time.

The Mets ultimately decided not to offer him a contract citing medical concerns.

Those medical concerns were never fully stated or understood – both Rocker’s agent, Scott Boras, and Vanderbilt coach, Tim Corbin, denied that there were any medical concerns surrounding the right-handed pitcher who compiled a 28-10 record with a 2.89 ERA overall in his three seasons with Vanderbilt.

However, Rocker did have minor shoulder surgery this past off season.

Rocker’s agent, Scott Boras, told ESPN that, “We have a very clear understanding, after a minor scope, of Kumar’s medically documented health, which has allowed him to perform at the highest levels.” Boras told ESPN that the surgery did not involve Rocker’s rotator cuff or labrum.

Rocker’s team informed MLB clubs of the procedure prior to this year’s MLB Draft.

Tennessean

Instead of returning to Vanderbilt for his senior season, Rocker elected to play professional baseball with the Tri-City ValleyCats in the Frontier League.

Tri-City ValleyCats pitcher Kumar Rocker during a Frontier League game against the Trois-Rivieres Aigles at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium on the Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, NY, on Saturday, June 4, 2022. (Jim Franco/Special to the Times Union)

Rocker had 5 starts with the ValleyCats and ended his stint with a 1-0 record and a 1.35 ERA over 20 innings.

While with the ValleyCats, he built up from 40 to a high of 69 pitches over his five starts. In his last start, Rocker threw about 12 pitches at 98 mph and showed command of his secondary pitches. “We just needed to illustrate he was Kumar being Kumar and that’s kind of what the purpose of being with the ‘Cats was and he accomplished all that” said Boras.

After his final start with the ValleyCats, Rocker reflected a bit on indy ball: “This is the point where players make a difference,” Rocker said. “This is the guys who stay in the game a long time. There’s a lot of baseball-for-lifers here and it’s special to be around these guys in the locker room and things like that.”

According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, The Texas Rangers and Kumar Rocker have agreed to terms on a $5.2MM deal, which is well below slot value but still $460,000+ more than last year’s No. 10 slot with the Mets last year.

Frontier League Welcomes Tri-City ValleyCats

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JANUARY 7, 2020

FRONTIER LEAGUE WELCOMES TRI-CITY VALLEYCATS

The Frontier League has unanimously accepted the Tri-City ValleyCats as the league’s 16th member.  The ValleyCats had been members of the New York-Penn League and were an affiliate of the Houston Astros.

Tri-City began play at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in the 2002 season.  Joseph L. Bruno Stadium is located on the campus of Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, New York.  Over the past five seasons the ValleyCats have averaged over 4,100 fans per game.  They won the New York-Penn League championship in 2010, 2013, and 2018 and hosted the NYPL All-Star Game in both 2008 and 2017.  The Tri-City ValleyCats franchise has been recognized with a variety of awards throughout the baseball industry to go along with personal accolades for key officials, including Rick Murphy (President), Matt Callahan (General Manager), and Michelle Skinner (Assistant General Manager). In 2015, ValleyCats founder, Bill Gladstone, was named King of Baseball in recognition for his longtime dedication and service to baseball.

Frontier League Commissioner Bill Lee says, “We are honored and excited to welcome the Tri-City ValleyCats to our League. They enjoy a tremendous reputation in professional baseball for their strong ownership and exemplary management. The ValleyCats also have a great fan base. We are anxious for their fans to see Frontier League baseball. 2021 could not start better for the Frontier League than to have the ValleyCats join our family.”

“We are excited to join the Frontier League and eager to start this new chapter in ValleyCats baseball. We feel that this opportunity is the best fit for our fans, franchise, and facility as we look forward,” said ValleyCats President, Rick Murphy.  “We would also like to thank Commissioner Bill Lee, the entire leadership of the Frontier League, and the fifteen other teams for welcoming us as new members.”

“The Boulders are thrilled with the addition of the ValleyCats to the Frontier League,” commented Shawn Reilly, President of the New York Boulders.  “The Gladstone family runs one of the best organizations in all of minor league baseball. To have them join our League is very exciting and reinforces our league as the premier Major League Baseball Partner League.  We look forward to many years of spirited competition to win the title as the best Frontier League team in New York State.”

Founded for the 1993 season, the Frontier League is the largest and longest running independent professional baseball league.  An official Partner League of Major League Baseball, the Frontier League features 16 clubs stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River and from the Ohio River to the St. Lawrence Seaway.  The Frontier League annually moves the most players into Major League Baseball organizations of any of the independent leagues.