This is a pretty big shock. The Rangers had been consistently linked with Elijah Green and Kevin Parada at #3, and while the Rangers reportedly really liked Rocker last year, when they were picking #2, I saw no one even hint that Texas might take him this year at #3.
Rocker, 22, was paired with Jack Leiter, the Rangers first pick in 2021, at Vanderbilt in 2020 and 2021. Rocker was selected 10th overall in the 2021 draft by the New York Mets, but didn’t sign with the Mets after they pulled their bonus offer due to concerns about his arm.
Rocker went to Vanderbilt despite being one of the highest rated pitchers in the 2018 high school class — he was #13 on the Baseball America draft board that year.
Rocker picked five games for Tri-City in the Independent Frontier League earlier this year in order to show he was healthy, and his agent, Scott Boras, has said Rocker has a clean bill of health.
Rocker was ranked #20 on the Baseball America draft board. Rocker is #33 on Keith Law’s board. Rocker was #54 on Kiley McDaniel’s board.
UPDATE — Jeff Passan says the Rangers will save about $2 million under slot with Rocker, which means they’ll be able to be aggressive in pursuing guys with signability concerns in the later rounds.