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MLB Draft 2017 profile: Morgan Cooper, second round

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Texas RHP Morgan Cooper could be big league ready in a relatively short time frame.
Photo credit: Texas Sports

Name: Morgan Cooper

Selection: Second round, 62nd overall pick

School: University of Texas

Top 200 Ranking: 46th

What he’s good at right now: Cooper has returned from Tommy John surgery earlier in his career to be the top arm in a talent Texas rotation. Cooper can flash a mid-90s fastball, but his go to pitch this year was a downer breaking ball the he can throw for strikes. He works deep and has the build that portends durability.

What he can be good at in the future: Cooper is an older collegiate prospect and has a fairly filled out frame, so he’s not likely to gain too much on his stuff. He does need to log more innings after working back slowly from injury so more repetitions could help him maintain his above average velocity on his fastball.

What does he need to work on: His control is solid, but Morgan Cooper does have a small stab in the back of his rotation that could cause some timing issues. Cooper’s changeup is solid now but he needs to throw it with more confidence to remain a starter.

Carry tool: The breaking ball is plus and gives him strikeout potential. Outside that, Cooper’s control is solid enough to give him a future in the back half of a rotation if he makes no further gains.

Biggest weakness: Perhaps projectability, as Cooper is an older prospect that isn’t likely to make much more physical progress.

ETA: Probably ready for High-A by year’s end, so he could be big league ready within two years.

Realistic best-case scenario: Cooper could refine his changeup enough to hold the third or fourth spot in the rotation, with a sharp breaking ball as a swing and miss offering, and enough velocity in the tank when he needs it to produce at a first-division level.

Wrap: If Kendall is going to require a little more to sign in Round 1, or the Dodgers have plans to spend big elsewhere, Cooper might represent a chance for a little bit of savings on slot while also nabbing a prospect I ranked almost twenty spots ahead of this pick. The Big 12 was the top RPI conference this year and Cooper was one of the league’s best arms and showed better stuff a year further removed from Tommy John surgery. He has a high floor as a middle reliever with more upside than Ross Stripling, but I wouldn’t quite rate his rotation upside as high as Brock Stewart’s at the moment. Cooper has the chance to move quickly and provide a quick return on investment.