FutureSox Prospect Rankings
- #29 - 2016 Preseason
- #25 - 2016 Midseason
- VIDEO: Full At Bat, 5/3/2015
- In-person game report with scouting details
- Interview, August 2015
- Pitching Coach Jose Bautista discusses Cooper
- All FutureSox articles tagged Matt Cooper
Taken in the 16th round as a senior sign after a statistically dominant college season where he struck out a batter and inning and didn't give up a home run in 106 innings. He made his pro debut that year in Great Falls' bullpen and put up nice numbers, but as a 22-year old in rookie ball it wasn't noteworthy. Spending April in extended ST despite being 23, he wasn't on anyone's prospect radar to start 2015. Then he went to Kannapolis and was just filthy as that club's closer: 0.73 WHIP, 4.5 H/9, 2.1 BB/9, 13.1 K/9 in 39.2 IP. In the month of July, he struck out half the total batters he faced. He was promoted to Winston-Salem in early August and did well there too in a brief look: 12.2 IP, 11 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 12 K. Then in a surprise move, he was added to the Dash rotation for 2016, and he did quite well in that role: 3.36 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 11.0 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 in 13 starts. He was then promoted to AA Birmingham in June, and back to the reliever role, in which he just kept getting batters out: 6.6 H/9, 2.6 BB/9, 10.3 K/9.
Cooper brings some unusual characteristics to the mound. He may not even be that listed 6 feet tall, but he's got an extreme overhand delivery that gives him downward plane and more effective height. The fastball was running 89-91 when we saw him in early May, but he bumped that to more 91-93 later in the year (and touched 94 from at least one report), with significant sink. The difference-maker for Cooper though, is his pairing of a curve and change. They arrive at an identical velocity range in the upper 70's to 80, look identical out of the hand, but then the curve takes on a 12-5 shape late while the change breaks arm-side like a mirror to the curve. He's also got a slider that, according to reports from Birmingham, became an out pitch for him. Cooper seemingly locates all four pitches at will, and that combo is enough to dumbfound hitters in the minors. His stint as a starter appears to be more of a internship, despite his stated preference to start, as the organization sees him more likely to see the majors from the bullpen. Now 25, he likely will continue to move up quickly, with a target of reaching AAA sometime in 2017.
Major League Outlook: Middle or long reliever
ETA: Late 2017 or OD 2018
Want to know right away when we publish a new article? Type your email address in the box on the right-side bar (or at the bottom, if on a mobile device) and click the "create subscription" button. Our list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.