Incredible, and not in a good way. After seeing one of the top pitchers in the draft, Kumar Rocker, slide to them at number 10, the New York Mets have failed to actually sign him.
There have been rumors for a couple weeks now that the Mets had concerns about the medicals after drafting Rocker, which had otherwise been expected to come with a way-above-slot $6 million signing bonus. By not signing Rocker, the Mets’s draft becomes something of a disaster because they’d gone under slot on many other players to making signing Rocker possible. They also lose his portion of the bonus pool from their pool, which means the 5% overage they could’ve spent on that chunk also goes poof (they composed the entire rest of their draft strategy around Rocker costing $6 million, so they didn’t even have any big over slot picks late to use that overage on anyway as a back-up plan).
It’s pretty hard to overstate what a nightmare this is for them, even setting aside the fact that they thought they’d shockingly landed a top three draft prospect with the 10th overall pick.
The obligatory statements:
Mets GM Zack Scott on Rocker: “This is clearly not the outcome we had hoped for and wish Kumar nothing but success moving forward. We’re excited about the players we have signed and look forward to watching them develop and contribute to the organization in the years to come.”
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 1, 2021
Clearly the Mets were concerned about something, and clearly Rocker’s camp thinks it won’t be an issue. Time will tell.
Education time – Baseball draft picks are worth up to 5x their slot value to clubs .I never shy away from investments that can make me that type of return.
— Steven Cohen (@StevenACohen2) August 1, 2021
What happens now is that Rocker cannot be drafted again until next year, which absolutely sucks for him. He can go back to Vanderbilt and pitch for his senior season, at which point he’d be an especially compelling senior draft pick (assuming health). He could also choose to go pro in an independent or international league for the next year, and then come to MLB via the draft.
For the Mets, they’ll get next year’s 11th overall pick as compensation. Interestingly – very small point here! – that means it became just a tiny bit more important to finish in the bottom ten records this year. For every other team, your 2022 first round pick just got bumped back by one spot. The Cubs currently have the 11th worst record in baseball. Just sayin’.