High School Crosscheck: Week 3


Nathan Rode and PBR Staff

Rain and injuries hindered a Georgia swing for The Rode Show, but RHP Kumar Rocker (North Oconee HS, GA) was worth the trip on his own. On cool Friday night, a couple dozen scouts rolled up to the field and watched Rocker warm up in the bullpen for a 6 p.m. game. The time for first pitch came, and then went. There were no umpires. The sun went down, the temperature dropped and Rocker had to start his pregame routine over as the crowd waited an hour for the umpires to show up. Rocker was on a 60-pitch limit, but with the delay and repeated routine, it was possible he would be shortened. It just all depended on how he looked and felt. In the first inning, he gave up a single on his second pitch, albeit the hitter looked like he was just trying to fight off the 94 mph fastball and found a hole. The runner advanced on a pitch in the dirt and then scored on a single after a strikeout. The second hit turned into an out when the batter tried to stretch it to a double and Rocker finished the inning with another strikeout. His stuff was good, but it wasn’t a dominant inning. The second through fifth innings were.

Rocker settled in and didn’t allow another baserunner, facing just one over the minimum. He logged five innings, allowing a run on the two hits and struck out 10. He landed on exactly 60 pitches, 40 of which were strikes. His fastball was up to 96 mph, sitting mostly 92-94. Four of his last five pitches were 94. Rocker looks like a defensive end, standing about 6-foot-4 or 6-foot-5 and 240-250 pounds. He pitches with tremendous ease and the plus fastball just explodes out of his hand with downhill plane and excellent life from a high-3/4 slot. He commanded the pitch down in the zone for most of the night, quickly adjusting if one got away from him. To make matters worse for hitters, his curveball was on point. It’s a power pitch, sitting 82-85 with hard downer break and depth. A couple opponents somehow made contact with it, but it’s a swing-and-miss, 70-grade offering.

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