Cooper: "No. Not at all. The Orioles' thing was a good opportunity out of high school, but if you look at the big picture, that's not enough for them to guarantee they are going to hold on to you.
"A lot of times guys will sign for that amount of money and if they don't perform well that first year, then they release you. Then I would not have been able to play in college. For someone to go out of high school and really feel that security, you would have to get a lot more money."
Question: What turned your career around so much that you went from a good high school player as a sophomore into a rising star?
Cooper: "I think about my senior year of high school I started showing my velocity. I had always thrown decently hard, but my senior year my velocity went up. The summer after my senior year (in Florida) is when I really started developing breaking pitches against college level hitters. That is when I started seeing a turning point from a thrower in high school to a pitcher."
Question:How many pitches do you have now?
Cooper: "I have three: fastball, slider and a changeup. I would say the fastball is my best pitch, but it is all about locating any of those three pitches. The fastball should always be your No. 1 pitch if you throw in upper 80s or low 90s.
Question: What do you still need to add to your pitching to make yourself even better?
Cooper: "Three pitches is enough. It is not about having a big arsenal as much as it is about throwing your pitches exactly where you want. One thing I have learned recently is that the changeup probably could be (your) best pitch or second-best if (you) really control it, especially against really good hitters. If you can control it, you can beat pretty much everybody.
"The big thing is having the confidence to throw a changeup, or slider, when you are behind in the count when the hitter is not expecting it. If you have confidence, it will work."
Question:Who has had the biggest influence on your baseball career?
Cooper:"I would have to say my parents. They really supported me. They have shelled out a lot of money to pay for everything from lessons almost my whole life to camps to showcases to summer ball.
"Whenever I am off playing in the summer, I don't have a job so they still have to help me financially. They have been the biggest influence, and they really help drive me and help me keep my goals in mind and stay positive.
"They have always been great. As you get older, you start to appreciate your parents more. I can see now that even when times were not as good, they would still pay for a camp or do something extra financially so I could do what they could to help me."
Question:Has the success you've had changed you in any ways?
Cooper: "I think so. I think that I have grown a lot as a person. I have gotten to know a lot of people. I have become more responsible. I have probably been at home four months since I graduated high school.
"I have basically lived on my own for three years. That helped me mature and get to know people. I have friends in five states. It's really been a growing process and has made me mature more than if I had just stayed home."
Question:What would it mean to you to eventually pitch in the big leagues?
Cooper:"It would be unbelievable. That's what keeps me going when I am back in Iowa and it is negative-15 degrees. That helps to have happy thoughts.
"But I also realize it is a long process. If I get drafted, I will play rookie ball or low Class A. I am not going to get drafted and go straight to playing for the Yankees. It's going to be a tough process and will be a grind. At the same time, my experiences have prepared me for that."
Question:Would you be playing in the Cape Cod League when the draft occurs?
Cooper: "I would be. If I don't get an offer that I think is enough, I can play in the Cape Cod League and they have until August 15 to sign me. They can follow how I do in the Cape Cod League. If you do well in the Cape, then your signing bonus can double and really grow by how you perform.
"They tell me the level of competition in the Cape Cod League is similar to high Class A ball. It's hard to get in the Cape than it is to get drafted."
Question: What advice would you have for other young players in this area who could end up dreaming of becoming the next Patrick Cooper?
Cooper: "Number one, always have that goal in mind and everything you do, do it with a purpose. Whenever you go hit, hit with a purpose. I wish I had known this when I was younger. Every time you throw a pitch, do it with a purpose to work on your mechanics.
"Just work hard every day and never take time off. And always keep that goal in mind."