The Los Angeles Dodgers completed their participation on the first day of the 2017 MLB Draft by selecting Morgan Cooper No. 62 overall with their second-round pick. Cooper was drafted in the 34th round by the Washington Nationals last year but did not sign.
That decision played out well for the 22-year-old, who led the University of Texas rotation and boosted his stock all the way up to the second round by posting a 2.32 ERA with 110 strikeouts in 89.1 innings.
Cooper has a quintessential pitcher’s frame at 6’5 and 220 lbs. The righty comes over the top with a fastball that, at its best, sits 92-94 mph and touches 96 mph. Cooper throws a curveball, a cutter and a changeup, and all of his secondaries earn above-average grades at times.
There was some talk of Cooper going in the first round but that cooled as the spring wore on. With his injury history, as well as velocity dipping during the summer, Cooper’s stock dropped a bit. He’ll also turn 23 years old in September.
Cooper reminds me a of Ross Stripling. The repertoires are very similar and they were both drafted out of college in Texas (Stripling went to A&M). Like Stripling, Cooper should be given the chance to start, though he’d likely fit well into a relief role.
As a redshirt junior and one of the older players in the draft, Cooper should sign quickly and potentially for under his draft slot value.
That could allow the Dodgers to use the savings later in the draft. If he remains healthy, which remains a question mark, Cooper could see time in Los Angeles before long.
The Dodgers selected outfielder Jeren Kendall in the first round with the No. 23 overall pick.