AUSTIN (KXAN) — Three days and 40 rounds later, 11 Longhorns were taken in the 2017 MLB Draft.
Texas tied Michigan for the most products taken this year from any college.
“That’s the type players we want,” Head coach David Pierce said. “We want players that come in here and aspire to have a great degree and be involved in a great program, but we also want guys to aspire to play in the big leagues, so there’s the fine line. I don’t want any player that only wants the degree or only wants to play professional baseball, so that balance of what we’re getting – the type of player that we want in the program is being represented in this year’s draft.”
Junior pitcher Morgan Cooper was the first Texas product off the board, taken in the second round by the Dodgers.
“To go to an organization like this, not only to get drafted, but to the dodgers, its insane,” Cooper said. “This is just the first step. I still have a lot of work to do, I’ve got to prove myself and show them that I’m worth it. It’s special but I’ve still got work to do.”
This past season, Cooper led Texas to its first at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament since 2014 with a 2.32 ERA and a team-high 110 strike outs. Following a strong freshman campaign, the right handed pitcher underwent Tommy John surgery, and red shirted the 2015 season. Last season as a red shirt sophomore, Cooper appeared in 13 games, starting 12 and posted at 4.03 ERA before a breakout campaign this year.
Before arriving on the 40 Acres, Cooper was a three-sport athlete at Jarrell high school, 50 miles north of Austin, leading the Cougars to a baseball state championship his junior season in 2012.
“If you had told me when I was in high school that this is what i was gonna do, I would have call you crazy.” Cooper said. “In Jarrell, we all play all the sports. When it’s football season, we play football, and basketball season, we play basketball and baseball, we play baseball. For somebody to come out of that small of a community, its been special to see that community continue to support me.”
On day two of the draft, sophomore Nick Kennedy got things started when the Rockies took him in the fifth round. Kyle Johnston was taken in the sixth, then Bret Boswell and Kacy Clemens both went in the eighth.
The draft ended on Wednesday with six Longhorns drafted, including Tyler Schimpf (13th round), Patrick Mathis (22nd), Lake Travis product Connor Mayes (24th), Zane Gurwitz (26th), Travis Jones (29th) and Jon Malmin (31st).
Four of Texas’ signees were also drafted, including two taken in the first two rounds. Tristen Lutz, an outfielder from Arlington Martin High School, was taken with the 34th overall pick by the Brewers, and the Twins drafted Canadian Landon Leach in the second round.