When the 2019 season began for Tanner Cooper he was entering his first season at Finger Lakes Community College. What he then went out and did was hilarious. On the mound he posted a 1.62 ERA with 19 walks and 136 strikeouts in 72.1 innings. But he also played in the field and hit .411/.521/.714 on the season. That performance led to the Cincinnati Reds selecting Cooper in the 35th round as a pitcher.
After signing, Cincinnati sent the right-handed pitcher to join the Greeneville Reds. His professional debut didn’t go as he would have hoped. Tanner Cooper gave up three hits, two walks, and three earned runs in an inning of work on June 18th. He rebounded well in his other two appearances to finish out June, tossing 4.0 shutout innings with five strikeouts.
On the first of July he tossed 2.0 shutout innings against Johnson City. The next two outings both went 3.0 innings, allowing three runs between the two appearances. After that Cooper made two more appearances of 2.0 innings, giving up one earned between the two starts. On July 24th he threw 4.0 hitless innings with three walks and six strikeouts – his longest outing to date. On the 30th he struggled a bit against Bristol, allowing two earned in 2.0 innings. For the month of July he posted a 3.00 ERA in 18.0 innings with just one home run allowed, six walks, and he struck out 19 batters.
On August 5th Tanner Cooper returned to the mound with 3.0 shutout innings and four strikeouts. Four days later he put together the best outing of his season, coming out of the bullpen in the second inning and allowing just one baserunner in 4.2 shutout innings of relief with five strikeouts. Over the final two weeks of the season the then 19-year-old was charged with an unearned run in three appearances that was over 6.0 innings with seven more strikeouts. Cooper finished the month with an ERA of 0.00, just six hits, three walks, and he struck out 16 batters in 13.2 innings.
For all 2019 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).
Tanner Cooper Scouting Report
Position: Right-handed pitcher | B/T: R/R
Height: 6′ 3″ | Weight: 215 lbs | Drafted: 35th Round, 2019
Fastball | The pitch currently works in the 88-90 MPH range and touches a little higher.
Curveball | It’s inconsistent, but when it’s at it’s best it flashes above-average.
Slider | It’s also inconsistent, but will also flash above-average.
Change Up | A below-average offering at this point that needs work to catch up to the other secondary offerings.
The performance in his debut was strong. As a 19-year-old, Cooper struck out 30% of the hitters he faced for Greeneville and had a walk rate of just 8.5%. Combine those with a 2.21 ERA in a league that had an ERA of 4.31, and there’s not much to dislike from his season in a statistical sense – he got results, and very good ones.
Tanner Cooper doesn’t throw very hard at this point, but he’s got room to add velocity moving forward. He’s athletic and flashes two potentially above-average breaking balls, as well as a change up. He’ll likely have to pick up some velocity moving forward, not many right-handers can get by at that velocity in today’s game. The good news is that there’s projection there for the now 20-year-old. What’s apparent at the early part of his career, though, is that he can throw strikes, and can do so with multiple pitches. He also can mix things up well with multiple offerings.
While there was some talk of letting Tanner Cooper hit during the season, it never did happen. After all of the success he had in 2019 on the mound it seems as if the plan moving forward is going to remain on the mound for the right-handed pitcher.
Interesting stat on Tanner Cooper
He dominated both right-handed hitters and left-handed hitters during 2019, holding both types of hitters under a .200 average on the season. But left-handed hitters also slugged under .200 against Cooper in 2019, hitting just one double – the only extra-base hit allowed against lefties. As a whole, lefties hit just .170/.254/.189 on the year in 59 plate appearances.
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