Kumar Rocker Named 2019 College World Series Most Outstanding Player

Image credit: Kumar Rocker is hugged by his mother, Lalitha, after Vanderbilt beat Michigan in Game 2. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Kumar Rocker first put himself on the national sporting world’s radar when he threw a 19-strikeout no-hitter to keep Vanderbilt’s season alive against Duke in the super regionals just over two weeks ago. 

Considering the way he then pitched in the College World Series, college baseball’s newest star won’t be leaving it any time soon. 

Rocker was named the 2019 College World Series’ Most Outstanding Player Wednesday night, just minutes after Vanderbilt beat Michigan, 8-2, to win the national title, the second in program history.

A night prior, Rocker stymied the Wolverines to force a Game 3, again staring down the pressure of an elimination game while seemingly barely batting an eye. 

Rocker’s 2019 postseason stats are gaudy: He struck out 44 batters in 28 innings, walking just five while posting a 0.96 ERA. And his 2019 stats in their entirety? A 12-5 record and 3.25 ERA with 114 strikeouts and 21 walks in 99.8 innings. 

Oh, right, and he’s just a freshman. 

Rocker’s rise isn’t a complete surprise. He ranked No. 13 on the 2018 BA 500 and was the highest-ranked prep player in the history of the BA 500 to make it to a four-year school. But he took another step late in the regular season and, clearly, carried it over into the postseason. 

Now he’ll return to Nashville a national champion, the owner of some MVP hardware, and plenty more attention heading into next season. 

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