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Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Leiter vs. Rocker: Who’s better?

Kumar Rocker entered 2021 as the consensus top Draft prospect and has excelled over his first seven starts. He won all seven with a tidy 0.84 ERA, posting a .137 opponents’ average and a 61/12 K/BB ratio in 43 innings.

Fellow Vanderbilt right-hander Jack Leiter has been even better. He no-hit South Carolina for nine innings in his first career Southeastern Conference start and Missouri for seven innings before departing in his second. He also has seven wins in as many starts, and his numbers verge on the ridiculous: 0.43 ERA, .074 opponents’ average, 71/16 K/BB ratio in 42 innings.

“It’s like watching Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris from 1961,” an area scout who covers Vanderbilt said. “It’s two guys who are clearly elite in their field.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 07, 2021 at 12:14 PM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: draft, jack leiter, kumar rocker

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   1. JJ1986 Posted: April 07, 2021 at 12:51 PM (#6012223)
Evan at Roger's peak, Mantle was much much better than Maris.
   2. Zonk Can Sell Culture Posted: April 07, 2021 at 01:03 PM (#6012224)
I don't *think* teammates have ever gone 1-2 in the draft... In fact, while I'm sure it has happened, a brief stroll isn't turning up any schools with two first rounders in the same year. I'm sure that has to have happened, but cannot remember/find an example.
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 07, 2021 at 01:05 PM (#6012225)
We had this conversation before and I think the closest was Bob Horner and Hubie Brooks going 1-3 out of Arizona State in 1978, and Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer doing the same out of UCLA in 2011.
   4. Zonk Can Sell Culture Posted: April 07, 2021 at 01:12 PM (#6012228)
Cole and Bauer.... yeah.... should have remembered that one.

To be fair, I think we've had every conversation before! Note to self, though: If Rocker and Leiter go 1-2, as it feels like they should - we'll no longer have any future need for this one again...

Personally, I think I'd still go with Rocker... but I'm increasingly convinced it's more of a tossup. Hope both stay healthy and continue to excel.
   5. JJ1986 Posted: April 07, 2021 at 01:32 PM (#6012230)
I believe Rice had 3 high first-round pitchers in the Wade Townsend year.
   6. Dolf Lucky Posted: April 07, 2021 at 01:33 PM (#6012231)
I saw the headline and my first thought was that of course Al was better than John. What am I missing?

In other news, it's not 1999 any longer.
   7. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: April 07, 2021 at 01:39 PM (#6012232)
We can still party like it, though.*

*when parties are safe again.
   8. Rennie's Tenet Posted: April 07, 2021 at 01:55 PM (#6012235)
The Pirates could, theoretically, draft both under the seemingly archaic Spiders clause in the draft rules.
   9. Dolf Lucky Posted: April 07, 2021 at 02:43 PM (#6012238)
We can still party like it, though.

I remember how I was listening to terrestrial radio* while commuting** home from work. The radio hosts were talking about an article in Sports Illustrated*** where Rocker gave his infamous thoughts on all things New York**** prior to the 2000 season, in which the Mets advanced to the World Series*****

*Now I only listen to satellite radio or podcasts
**I work from home
***It's been years since anyone actually read SI
****An empty shell of a city
*****Not happening
   10. Walt Davis Posted: April 07, 2021 at 05:47 PM (#6012290)
To be fair, I think we've had every conversation before!

To be unfair, this particular conversation was last week about these same two kids. :-)
   11. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: April 07, 2021 at 09:58 PM (#6012332)
I saw the headline and my first thought was that of course Al was better than John. What am I missing?

Glad to I'm not the only one who thought of those two players.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: April 07, 2021 at 11:36 PM (#6012339)
John Rocker vs Mark Leiter Sr.** is awfully close.

** For crying out loud!
   13. Cooper Nielson Posted: April 08, 2021 at 08:19 AM (#6012349)
Evan at Roger's peak, Mantle was much much better than Maris.

Depends how you define "peak" and how you define "their field" (as in the original quote). If their field is "hitting home runs" then Maris was better than Mantle not just in 1961 but for a 3-year stretch from 1960 to 1962 (both in total HR and on a HR/PA basis).

If their field is "playing baseball" and Maris's peak is 1960, he did have more WAR and WAA than Mantle, despite playing 17 fewer games.

Nobody talks about Maris's defense, but he won as many Gold Gloves as Mantle (one each) and he does much better by the advanced stats -- for example, Maris is +45 over his career in BB-Ref's "runs from fielding" (Rfield) while Mantle is -37. Mantle had 7 positive years, peaking at +10; Maris had 9 positive years (despite a shorter career), peaking at +19.

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