There were a lot of prep pitchers selected in the 2009 draft, and one of the ones that got away was 17th rounder Jordan Cooper, who went on to play at the University of Kentucky. After two somewhat disappointing years in the Kentucky rotation, Cooper was drafted again by the Pirates, this time as a draft eligible Sophomore. He was selected in the 23rd round this time of the 2011 draft, and even though he was draft eligible as a sophomore, he ended up signing fairly quickly.
Cooper didn’t have the best start to his pro career. In his first pro appearance, he allowed five earned runs on five hits and three walks in 2.2 innings. He rebounded the next two times out, combining for one earned run on eight hits in seven innings, with a 7:1 K/BB ratio. However, the next time around he allowed six earned runs on seven hits and two walks in 2.2 innings. Since that start on July 23rd, Cooper has been much more consistent, with one earned run on seven hits in 11.1 innings.
Being inconsistent is nothing new for Cooper. It was the story of his 2011 season with Kentucky. He started off the year in the weekend rotation, but was quickly bounced out of the role and in to mid-week starts due to poor performance. He put up better numbers, and was eventually moved back to starting on Sundays. However, he started struggling again in the role, killing any chances of being selected in the early rounds.
Cooper throws in the 89-94 MPH range, and has an effective slider and changeup. When he struggled this year, his velocity was mostly in the high 80s to low 90s, and his command disappeared. He was a project out of high school, and is still a project even after two years of college. The recent success is great, but only if he finds a way to maintain that success on a consistent basis.