When the Texas Rangers selected Kumar Rocker with the third overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft, jaws dropped around the nation. Rocker, possibly the most well-known prospect in the draft, was not expected to go in the top-5 of this draft, so when Texas made the pick, draft boards shook.
But when the Texas Rangers selected Brock Porter at the top of the fourth round, it all made sense. That’s because the picks are tied together…
Brock Porter and Kumar Rocker complement each other brilliantly for the Texas Rangers
Brock Porter, widely considered the best prep pitcher in the draft, was rated by many as top-15 talent in the draft. But after committing to Clemson, Porter let it be known it would take well over traditional slot money for him to forego college. Sensing risk, teams shied away from Porter, resulting in a slide.
The Texas Rangers, seemingly impervious to risk, were monitoring the situation closely. They had an agreement with agent Scott Boras (you may have heard of him) to sign Rocker for well-under slot. They had extra money to give, should a certain player fall.
"“Last night, as we watched the first round transpire, it became clear that Porter was one that we may have an opportunity to draft and so we were prepared,” GM Chris Young said. “It was a restless night’s sleep for me.”"
What makes any of us think this will work out?
As we stated before, Rocker is represented by agent Scott Boras. Boras also represents Porter so one would certainly think the Rangers knew what they were doing when this situation was going down.
Boras also represents the recently signed Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, so the line of communication between player, agent, and team is clearly flowing smoothly. The idea of getting two of the most elite pitchers in the draft with just two picks in the top four rounds is pretty amazing.
While riddled with injury risk, Rocker is an elite pitching prospect who was once expected to go No. 1 overall. The only reason he’s ever slipped from that mantel is health. If (that’s a big “if”) he’s over those injury concerns, he’s a great pick in his own right.
But the fact he facilitates the Brock Porter signing, just makes him all the more impactful. Porter was rated by Baseball America as the 12th best prospect in the draft and MLB Pipeline had him at 11th. The Texas Rangers essentially snagged two top-of-the-rotation starters here.
Both players have the ability to bust and that cannot be denied. Rocker may never overcome his mysterious injury situation and Porter may go to college leaving the Texas Rangers with a tall glass of Jack Squat. But Chris Young has been calculated and prepared since taking the helm, so it’s pretty safe to assume he’s thought and planned this thing out.
The timeline for the two couldn’t be more different. Porter is fresh out of high school and a long-term prospect. Rocker is likely on the fast track like the Rangers’ top pick last year, Jack Leiter. It’s going to be some time before we can grade the success of this strategy, but at this moment, it looks like a harmonious plan that’s come together.