His velocity rose from about 88 to 91 mph to about 90 to 94 during the summer, which is one reason he's already been invited to play this summer in the Cape Cod League, which attracts the nation's top amateur players..
Cooper shared insights on his career, his goals and his personality when he was home for a brief holiday visit before he headed back to Iowa to prepare for his spring season.
Cooper will pitch for Des Moines Area Community College this spring and has signed with Bradley for the 2010 season.
He shared insights on his career, his goals and his personality when he was home for a brief holiday visit before he headed back to Iowa to prepare for his spring season.
Question: What has life in Iowa been like, and was transferring from Eastern Kentucky to Des Moines Area Community College the right move for you as you anticipated it would be?
Cooper: "Just the fact that I am going to get a lot more opportunities, not only with the professional aspect, but the college aspect as well. I was going to have more opportunities with colleges as well.
"It just happened that I decided Bradley was my best fit and went ahead and signed there in November where my head coach and pitching coach from Eastern (Elvis Dominguez) went and I wanted to play with them. But life in Iowa has been good. I really like it there."
Question: What did you learn during your summer league experience in Fort Hays, Kan.?
Cooper: "What contributed to my success the most was not only learning from my mistakes at Eastern, but being relaxed. This summer was the most relaxed I have ever been. I had so much fun on and off the field.
"I pitch a lot better when I am relaxed. At Eastern Kentucky, freshman year pitching against the University of Louisville is a pretty tense situation. I felt like I was always under pressure to get a starting role or always really perform.
"But then this summer I all of sudden kind of emerge as the ace on the team, I really didn't have any pressure. I could be relaxed and do what I do best. The big thing is just going out there and being loose and having fun."
Question:So you are much more relaxed now than compared to even when you were a senior at Boyle and pitching in the 12th Region Tournament?
Cooper: "I think this year I will really be able to relax more, too. It's all about confidence, and now that I have had a really great summer, you realize you can pitch against anybody. Whenever you think like that and know that every time you go out to the mound that you can beat the team you are throwing against, it really helps."
Question: When did it go from being a goal or dream to be a professional player to where you knew it could be a reality?
Cooper: "The summer after my senior year I kind of got a little taste of it with the (Baltimore) Orioles (who offered a contract). But when it really set in was this summer in our World Series. I threw a one-hitter against a team. There were a lot of (pro) scouts there and we heard a lot of things after that.
"The peak of that was going into Des Moines this fall and seeing all the scouts at our games, and I probably have 30 letters from different teams. That is when it set in that it could really become a reality."
Question:So is it similar to being recruited again when major league teams contact you for information?
Cooper: "It's kind of similar to college, but the difference is that in college they are trying to decide how much of a scholarship to give you and the pro teams are trying to decide how much money they are going to give you and what round they are willing to draft you in.
"But it's also a lot different. In college, there are all levels and you can go up and down. But this is professional baseball and they are picking you instead of you picking a school."
Question:When did you first start dreaming of being a professional baseball player?