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Rocker might have been a first-rounder as a Georgia high schooler in 2018 had he been signable away from a commitment to Vanderbilt, where he became college baseball's biggest star. In his two full seasons, he threw a 19-strikeout no-hitter against Duke in the NCAA super regionals and won College World Series Most Outstanding Player honors as a freshman in 2019, then topped NCAA Division I in wins (14) and strikeouts (179) in 2021. Drafted 10th overall by the Mets that July, he agreed to a $6 million bonus before a post-Draft physical revealed shoulder and elbow issues that led the club to pull its offer.

Following shoulder surgery in September 2021, Rocker returned to the mound the next spring in the independent Frontier League and flashed high-end stuff in controlled outings. The Rangers surprised other clubs by selecting him third overall in the 2022 Draft, signing him for an under-slot $5.2 million and using the savings to give MLB Pipeline's highest-rated pitcher (Brock Porter) a record $3.7 million in the fourth round. Rocker was underwhelming in the Arizona Fall League in 2022, then dominated High-A hitters to open last season -- only to blow out his elbow in May and require Tommy John surgery.

Rocker is famous for his slider, a wipeout mid-80s beast with power and depth, and he showed it off in both the AFL and in his official pro debut last spring. The quality of his mid-90s fastball varied, as it lacked life and command in Arizona when he worked from a lower arm angle than usual, then got more swings and misses when he threw from a higher slot in 2023. Texas had him incorporate more two-seamers with sink to get more movement on his heater.

While Rocker also possesses a plus low-80s curveball and an average mid-80s changeup, he focuses mainly on his fastball and slider. The son of former NFL defensive lineman Tracy Rocker, he's extremely physical and has a history of providing strikes but demonstrates just average command. His arm angle still varied at times in 2023, so he needs to prove he can maintain the high three-quarters slot at which he's most effective. He's a high-variance prospect who flashes frontline starter stuff but also comes with reliever risk, and he'll be 24 years old with just 28 innings in the Minors when he returns to the mound in late 2024.

Round Rock Express (AAA)
Round Rock, TX | Pacific Coast League
Website | Roster | Schedule
Frisco Roughriders (AA)
Frisco, TX | Texas League
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Hickory Crawdads (Hi A)
Hickory, NC | South Atlantic League
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Down East Wood Ducks (Lo A)
Kinston, NC | Carolina League
Website | Roster | Schedule