Jeff Passan and Kiley McDaniel of ESPN reported earlier on Sunday that the New York Mets likely will not sign their 1st round draft pick, right-handed pitcher Kumar Rocker, before Sunday’s 5 PM deadline to sign draft picks.
Rocker, 21, was projected to be drafted among the top few picks in the 2021 draft but he dropped all the way down to 10th, when the New York Mets selected him. The Colorado Rockies drafted outfielder Benny Montgomery with the eighth overall pick.
Many Colorado Rockies were perplexed that a) the team didn’t draft Rocker when it was their turn and b) were confused when they drafted Montgomery, who was ranked 15th (by MLB.com) or lower by other outlets, especially when Rocker was still on the table.
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But the Colorado Rockies dodged a bullet that the New York Mets took
Part of the reason why Rocker likely dropped so much was his health. The New York Mets had a deal in place to sign Rocker for a $6 million bonus but Passan and McDaniel report that the Mets “expressed concerns over the health of Rocker’s arm” following a physical that happened last week.
Passan and McDaniel also report that “outside orthopedists disagreed with the Mets’ assessment of Rocker’s health” but seemingly, the Mets will let the deal fall through because of this.
The Colorado Rockies signed Benny Montgomery, who was drafted two picks before Rocker, for a signing bonus that was $1 million less than Rocker’s previously agreed-upon deal with the Mets. The Rockies, therefore, were able to reallocate the rest of their draft money to some other picks.
The Mets, assuming that they don’t sign Rocker in the next three hours, will get a compensation draft pick in the 2022 Draft. That pick will be the 11th pick in the 1st round. Given the Mets’ current play, they will likely get their other first-round pick in the late teens or early 20s in the 2022 draft.
That is good compensation for the Mets but it still means that the development of a top draft pick would be a year behind the previous schedule, and that’s not a bullet that the Rockies are built to take on.