Continuing our series of player profiles for the 2017 MLB Draft, we switch back to the college ranks with a look at Morgan Cooper, hard-throwing right-hander from the University of Texas.
Morgan Cooper is from Jarrell, Texas. Undrafted out of high school in 2013, he had an impressive freshman campaign in ‘14 (2.89 ERA in 56 innings, 41/9 K/BB) but missed all of 2015 with Tommy John surgery. He came back in 2016 as a redshirt sophomore and held his own, posting a 4.03 ERA in 67 innings with a 70/17 K/BB. He was drafted in the 34th round last year by the Washington Nationals but did not sign.
Returning for his junior season Cooper posted a 2.32 ERA in 89 innings over 15 starts this year with a 110/33 K/BB and just 66 hits allowed.
Cooper is listed at 6-4, 220, a right-handed hitter and thrower born September 12th, 1994.
Coming back for his junior season was the right thing to do, as Cooper’s stock has soared this spring. He has a stereotypical “big guy from Texas” fastball at 91-96 MPH, and he commands the fastball well.
He’s not just a fastball pitcher, able to mix in a curve, cutter/slider, and change-up. The curveball was his best pitch as a freshman but since the injury he’s done good work developing his other two pitches, giving him four quality options. He usually throws strikes and has the complete arsenal needed to start in the majors. His makeup is also considered a strong positive.
Although his mechanics are consistent the heat isn’t exactly “easy” and his radar gun readings sometimes decline as a game progresses, although his full quiver of secondaries helps compensate. His command is occasionally erratic and will need to firm up at the highest levels. The redshirt season makes him an “old” junior at age 22.
Cooper has maintained steady stock as a late second or third round pick all spring but he could go as high as the supplemental round due to his relative lack of leverage and his status as an advanced college arm. He could reach the majors fairly quickly.