Rocker, Leiter lead a big Sunday night for the SEC in the 2021 MLB Draft
Chris Lee • 7/11/2021 in Baseball
Vandy's rotation duo goes in the top 10, as the Southeastern Conference has a heavy first-round presence.
Vanderbilt's Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker each came off the board in the top 10 picks of the first round of the MLB Draft, headlining a group of four Southeastern Conference players and 11 commitments taken in Sunday night's first round.
Leiter (second to Texas) and Rocker (10th, Mets) were the league's first two players off the board, and were joined by Vanderbilt shortstop commit Jordan Lawlar, (sixth overall to Arizona) inside the top 10.
Mississippi State right-hander Will Bednar (14th, Giants) and Ole Miss righty Gunnar Hoglund (19th, Blue Jays) rounded out SEC players taken on Sunday evening.
Just 36 players were selected on Sunday. Rounds 2-10 are on Monday, while rounds 11-20 take place on Tuesday.
The first commitment taken was right-hander Jackson Jobe, an Ole Miss commit who went third to Detroit.
As for commitments, Florida was hit hardest, the Gators seeing right-handed pitchers Andrew Painter (13th, Phillies) and Chase Petty (26th, Twins) as well as outfielder Jay Allen (30th, Reds) selected on Sunday.
Tennessee (shortstop Brady House, 11th to Washington), Arkansas (shortstop Max Muncy, 25th to Oakland), Kentucky (shortstop Jackson Merrill, 27th to the Padres), Mississippi State (left-hander Jackson Bruns, 29th to the Dodgers), Alabama (shortstop Noah Miller, 36th to Minnesota) and South Carolina (second baseman Cooper Kinney to the Rays at 34th) also likely lost players on Sunday.
Leiter and Rocker represented two of the three Golden Spikes finalists for 2021, the other being Arkansas right-hander Kevin Kopps (who went un-drafted on Sunday, but will likely go off the board Monday or Tuesday).
Rocker earned College World Series Most Outstanding Player honors when he led Vanderbilt to a national title in 2019. He threw a 19-strikeout no-hitter against Duke in the NCAA tournament that year.
Leiter also threw a no-hitter, his coming this spring against South Carolina in his first SEC start. He and Rocker combined to lead the Commodores to a College World Series runner-up finish in 2021.
Bednar, the MOP of this year's CWS, saw his draft stock rise as he led the Bulldogs to a national title this season. Bednar made one start and earned freshman All-American honors in his abbreviated 2020 season.
Hoglund, who had Tommy John surgery this spring, was one of the more polished college arms in the class. He had a 2.87 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings of a season that ended in May due to an elbow injury.
The Gators, Razorbacks and Vols weren't surprised to see their commits off the board that early as each were regarded as first-round talents by one or more of ESPN, MLB.com or Baseball America. Bruns and Kinney were regarded as second-rounders by at least one of those outlets, while Miller was seen as a second-to-third -rounder.
LSU right-hander Jaden Hill and Florida outfielder Jud Fabian were considered potential first-round picks, but each will likely have to wait until Monday to hear their names called.