Nashville, TN

Vanderbilt's Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter receive recognition from Baseball America

Devon Williams

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NASHVILLE, TN - Vanderbilt Commodores 2020-2021 starting pitchers, Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker receive national awards from Baseball America. Rocker was named the Player of the Year, and Leiter became the Freshman of the Year. This also marked the first time a pair of teammates receive Player and Freshman of the Year by Baseball America in the same season.

The achievement seems unsurprising since both Rocker and Leiter were dominant on the mound last season. Both led the nation in strikeouts with 179 strikeouts. Rocker led the nation with 14 wins and he had 2.73 ERA in 122 innings pitched, while Leiter had 11 wins and 2.13 ERA in 110 innings pitched. The formidable pitching duo was dubbed two of the best baseball prospects coming out of college and into the 2021 MLB Draft.

The pair then led the Commodores to their second College World Series in a row, but they fell short just one win away from being a repeat champion after they win the title in 2019. Both made the first-team All-American, while Rocker being a unanimous choice, this achievement was the first for rotation-mates since Jeff Niemann and Wade Townsend in 2003.

In July, Rocker and Leiter headed to the 2021 MLB Draft, projected as the top 10 picks. Neither became the no. 1 pick, but Leiter went second overall to the Texas Rangers organization, Rocker was picked by the New York Mets with the 10th overall pick and this marked the first time a pair of teammates was picked in the top 10 since UCLA's Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer in 2011. Leiter has been signed to the Rangers, but Rocker failed to sign a deal with the Mets before the deadline.

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