“I got a call from the scouting director today,” Cooper, who was in Kansas playing summer league baseball, said. “He asked me a few questions about my background and asked me if they gave me what I wanted if I was ready to leave. I told him I could be on my way tomorrow.”
Cooper, a right-handed pitcher, was picked in the 14th round of the Major League Baseball amateur draft with the 433rd overall selection by Detroit. That was 20 rounds higher than he went in 2009 when the Arizona Diamondbacks drafted him.
He retained Little Rock, Ark.-based sports agent Darek Braunecker, whose clients include major league pitchers A.J. Burnett and Cliff Lee, as an advisor.
Cooper should be in Danville this weekend and then will fly to Lakeland, Fla. — the Tigers’ spring training base — on Thursday. He’ll have a physical, and if there are no problems, he’ll sign his contract the next day.
He’s not sure what will happen next, but he expects to play with the Connecticut Tigers in Norwich, Conn., in the New York-Penn League.
“That’s the Class A short season mainly designed for college players who have just signed,” Cooper said. “It actually starts tomorrow and runs until Sept. 6.”
Cooper played one year at Eastern Kentucky before transferring to Des Moines (Iowa) Area Community College, where he was 8-1 with a 3.48 earned run average. He played in the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2009 and made the all-star team after going 2-1 with a 0.66 ERA. He transferred to Bradley last season and was used both as a starter and closer.
Now he’s happy to have a few days at home with his family.
“My parents are so excited. They always want what is best for me and have always been on the same page with me,” he said. “We all agree this is a good time for me to start playing pro ball and work my way up. They are happy with the way everything has turned out.
“They told me during the negotiations not to worry about the money because they would still support me no matter what. That was great to know, but now that I have got a little money, they are very, very happy.”