NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Vanderbilt pitching duo of Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker were both selected on night one of the 2021 MLB Draft on Sunday evening.
Leiter went second overall to the Texas Rangers, while Rocker was picked 10th by the New York Mets. With the selections, Leiter and Rocker became the 11th and 12th top-10 overall picks in the Tim Corbin era (2003-present), a mark that is more than every other program in the SEC East combined.
— Vanderbilt Baseball (@VandyBoys) July 12, 2021
Vanderbilt has now had multiple top-10 picks for the third time in program history, which marks the most of any school. The Commodores are just one of two programs to have multiple top-10 picks twice, joining Arizona State, who had multiple top-10 selections in 1976 and 1978.
The duo of David Price and Casey Weathers were selected in the top 10 of the 2007 MLB Draft, while Dansby Swanson and Carson Fulmer went in the top 10 of the 2015 MLB Draft.
Leiter and Rocker tied for the nation-lead in strikeouts, posting 179 apiece across the 2021 campaign. The duo became the first teammates in at least 30 seasons to lead the country in strikeouts.
Leiter registered 201 strikeouts across his two seasons. The right-hander closed out the season ranking third in the country in hits allowed per nine innings with a mark of 3.93.
“He became an immediate winner,” said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin on Leiter. “There was a lot of hype about him coming into school that I tried to downplay a little bit because he had never pitched in the SEC before. He came in and was very comfortable, and he is obviously a refined pitcher. He throws four distinct pitches. He’s a puncher, and I think that’s the best thing you can say about him. He’s more than just a fastball pitcher.”
Rocker posted a 14-4 record on the mound this season, including a 3-1 in the NCAA Tournament. The junior right-hander became just the second player since 1988 to lead the nation in both strikeouts and wins in the same season.
“He’s an alpha and a strong puncher,” said Corbin of Rocker on the set of MLB Network. “I think of him as a Joe Louis type-guy, he’s coming right after you and he’s not messing around. Bottom line, he’s a winner. The kid can win and he loves to win. He pitches for his team and he’s just been enjoyable to be around these last few years.”