SECAUCUS, N.J. -- Kentucky sophomore right-hander Jordan Cooper has been selected with the first pick of the 23rd round of the 2011 MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, it was announced on Tuesday evening.
Cooper is the fifth Wildcat to be selected in the first 30 rounds of the MLB Draft, consisting of the first round on Monday night and the following 29 rounds on Tuesday during Day 2 of the MLB Draft. With the 23rd round pick of the Pirates, Cooper has now been selected by the Pirates twice, as they selected him with their 17th-round selection in the 2009 MLB Draft.
UK junior right-hander Alex Meyer became the second-highest draft pick in program history on Monday, going No. 23 to the Washington Nationals. During Day 2 on Tuesday, Chad Wright (ninth round; Detroit Tigers), Braden Kapteyn (15th round; Boston Red Sox) and Taylor Black (16th round; Philadelphia Phillies) were selected. The school record for most draft picks in a single season came in 2008, when seven Wildcats were selected.
Cooper, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound right-hander, made 12 starts with two relief appearances as a sophomore in 2011. Cooper totaled a 3-2 record and a 4.61 ERA with one save, tossing 66.1 innings with 29 walks and 47 strikeouts. UK’s opening-day starter, Cooper excelled in a midweek role, going 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA against non-conference foes. A native of Shelbyville, Tenn., Cooper turned in six quality starts in 2011, and without four rough starts, posted a 3-0 record and a 1.72 ERA in over 50 innings.
After UK claimed the Southeastern Conference Championship in 2006, Kentucky has boasted a bevy of draft selections. Since 2006 and including the picks on Tuesday, the Wildcats have had a total of 39 players selected in the MLB Draft or sign a free agent contract. Since 1965, UK has had a total of 151 players drafted or sign a free agent contract, with 26-percent of the 151 total players coming since the 2006 season.
The MLB Draft will conclude through round 30 on Tuesday and resume on Wednesday with the remaining 20 rounds. The draft can be seen live on MLB.com.
• 17th round draft pick in 2009 (Pirates)
• SEC Freshman of the Week (5/17/10)
• SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll (2010)
• 23rd round draft pick in 2011 (Pirates)
UK’s opening day starter, Cooper bounced in and out of the weekend rotation as a sophomore, appearing in 14 games with 12 starts, totaling a 3-2 record and a 4.61 ERA with one save … Tossed 66.1 innings, allowing 84 hits and 29 walks, striking out 47 … Made eight starts and appeared in 10 games against non-conference foes, posting a 3-0 record and a 2.45 ERA with a save in 47.2 innings, walking 19 and striking out 37 … Tossed six quality starts on the year … Was scratched from his final start of the year at No. 4 Florida in the season finale due to food poisoning … Had four bad starts and without his four bad outings, totaled a 3-0 record and a 1.78 ERA in 50.2 innings … In the eight games Cooper pitched in that UK won, the righty went 3-0 with a 1.40 ERA … Got off to a rough start after allowing six hits and five runs in three innings in the season opener vs. College of Charleston … Rebounded with three straight winning outings, going 5.1 innings with one run allowed vs. Illinois-Chicago and turning in a career-best seven innings, allowing only three hits and one run, striking out a career-high nine … In his next start battled for 6.2 innings and one run allowed vs. Niagara … After back-to-back rocky outings vs. Tennessee and Alabama that saw Cooper allow 14 runs in eight innings combined, Cooper transitioned to the midweek starting role … Excelled in that role, posting quality outings vs. Xavier, Louisville, Western Kentucky and against Louisville in Lexington … Struck out eight in six innings at WKU and allowed only one run in 6.1 frames at Louisville … In the return game in Lexington vs. Louisville, Cooper went 6.2 innings, not allowing an earned run.
One of the top freshmen pitchers in the nation, established himself as UK’s Saturday starter midway through the season after functioning as one of the top relievers on the team early in his first collegiate season … Appeared in 20 games with eight starts … Tossed 58.1 innings, allowing 71 hits and 37 earned runs, walking 27 and striking out 35 … After struggling early in his first career season, settled down to show glimpses of being a dominant starting pitcher towards the middle to late portion of the season … Pitched in 11 of UK’s 30 SEC games with five starts, posting a 3-4 record and a 6.88 ERA in 35.1 innings, with 22 strikeouts … Had a 3.91 ERA and a 1-1 record in nine non-conference games with three starts … Named SEC Freshman of the Week after a dominating outing against eventual NCAA Champion South Carolina, helping UK win the series over the Gamecocks … Tossed 6.2 innings against South Carolina, allowing only four hits and one run, striking out a career-best five and allowing only two players to reach scoring position … Has an excellent pickoff move, nabbing three runners on the year … In eight starts, had a 4.19 ERA and a 3-2 record, tossing 34.1 innings … Made his collegiate debut in the second game of the season against West Virginia, tossing 1.1 shutout innings with two hits allowed, one walk and one strikeout … Made first career start against Evansville, picking up his first career win after hurling four pre-determined innings, allowing six hits and one run, striking out four … Had a great outing at Vanderbilt, tossing 2.2 shutout innings, allowing two hits and one walk … Had another dominating outing in SEC play at Arkansas, keeping UK in the game with four innings in relief of starter Taylor Rogers, allowing one earned run and striking out three … Earned second career start, coming in a home game with rival Louisville, in front of a season-high 3,819 fans at Cliff Hagan Stadium … Was a force against Louisville, hurling 3.2 shutout innings, allowing only three hits, two walks and striking out two in a 5-0 UK win … Picked up second career win with three innings out of the pen against SEC Champion Florida, tossing three innings, allowing only two hits and one run, striking out three … With UK starter Alex Meyer out for an extended period of time halfway through the season with mononucleosis, Cooper was called on to be the third weekend starter … Cooper got first career SEC start at Auburn in a must-win situation, pitching well enough to keep UK in the game, going three innings, with three runs allowed in a 3-2 loss … Got another start against Louisville, just three days after starting at Auburn, going three innings without allowing a run, striking out one … Skill as a starting pitcher began to show in a start at Tennessee, where Cooper tossed five innings, allowing two runs in a 3-1 loss to the Vols … Got Saturday start against LSU and had the best outing of his career, tossing a career-high seven innings, allowing four runs and striking out five in a UK win.
The No. 1 high school pitching prospect and the fifth-best prospect overall in the state of Tennessee and the 81st best high school prospect in the nation by Baseball America … Participated for Team Tennessee in the Junior Sunbelt Classic in McAlester, Okla. … Was on the New York Yankees team at the East-Coast Professional Showcase in Lakeland, Fla. … Played for the Oakland Athletics team at the Area Code Games in Long Beach, Calif. … Went 7-1 with a 1.47 ERA as a senior, striking out 81 in 47 innings … Also hit .510 as a senior with four homers and 36 RBI … Posted a 1.31 ERA and a 5-2 record as a junior … Coached by Brad Frasier … Led team to the district championship in 2006 and 2009 … Named All Mid-State MVP as a senior … Named all-district as a junior … Played basketball as a freshman and junior, leading team to a state runner-up finish in 2006 … Member of the National Honor Society … Drafted in the 17th round of the 2009 MLB Draft by the Pittsburg Pirates.
Full name is Jordan Kendrick Cooper … Born February 16, 1990 in Shelbyville, Tenn. … Son of Gary and Cathy Cooper … Has two brothers, Matt (27) and Cory (25), and a sister, Sydney (12).