“He said that everything in baseball is 90 percent mental,” Rocker said regarding his father’s lessons. “The composure you need on the mound to be a pitcher is on you. You’ve just got to learn how to handle yourself, and everything you do is looked at.”

Freeman has seen that mental toughness in Rocker as well as the ability to be a little bit meaner on the field. But there’s a difference in how the young righthander will need to handle those emotions when he’s on the mound.

“The attitude in football and baseball is quite different,” Freeman said. “As a pitcher he’s still going to have to temper that down and understand that once you get emotional on the mound you start making more mistakes, unlike in football when you get emotional you start playing better at times. He’s learning to separate the two, and having both perspectives give him a better understanding of how he needs to develop himself. “

Rocker is committed to Vanderbilt to continue his post-high school career–provided he instead doesn’t turn pro after the 2018 draft. He was attracted to the Commodores program because of the pitching program there and the chance to get a great education. But if as expected he’s drafted in the first round, Rocker may never make it to campus.

GETTING NOTICED: The Dream Series provides the opportunity for lesser-known players to raise their stock in the eyes of scouts and coaches. Among the young pitchers cited by Matthews as showing well at the event are a couple of pitchers from the 2019 class: North Carolina native Isaiah Bennett, who flashed an intriguing repertoire during his bullpen sessions, and Houston product Tre Faltine, noted for his maturity and electric stuff. Allante Hall, a 2018 catcher from Kansas City, turned heads with his great hands, ability to receive and very strong arm.