Jays agree to deal with top pick Cooper
First baseman headed for stop in New York-Penn League
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays wasted little time in getting prospect David Cooper on the books. On Tuesday, Toronto agreed to terms on a contract with its top choice in the First-Year Player Draft.
The Jays nabbed Cooper -- a first baseman out of the University of California-Berkeley -- with the 17th overall pick in Thursday's Draft. Now signed, the 21-year-old prospect is ticketed for Auburn of the New York-Penn League, where his stay could be relatively short.
Considering Cooper's offensive abilities, the Blue Jays believe the left-handed hitter might be able to make the jump from short-season Auburn to high-Class A Dunedin before too long, bypassing Class A Lansing on his journey up the organizational ladder.
"If he progresses for maybe about a month," Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi said, "if he does well, we'd move him up to Dunedin. But, he's an advanced bat, so hopefully he'll be able to get up there."
This past season with California, Cooper hit at a .359 clip with 19 home runs and 55 RBIs in 56 games for the Golden Bears. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound first baseman added 14 doubles and scored 55 runs, while posting a .449 on-base percentage and a .682 slugging percentage.
Blue Jays' top five selections
|17.||1B||David Cooper||UC Berkeley|
|63.||CF||Kenneth Wilson||Sickles HS (Fla.)|
|95.||RHP||Andrew Liebel||Cal St Long Beach|
|129.||3B||Robert Sobolewski||U of Miami|
|159.||SS||Tyler Pastornicky||The Pendleton School (Fla.)|
|Complete Blue Jays Draft results >|
"I knew they were one of the teams that was interested," Cooper said on Friday, discussing being selected by the Blue Jays. "I knew they were a team that I could fall to, and I'm just very happy that it worked out that way."
Besides Cooper, Toronto agreed to terms on 26 of its other Draft picks on Tuesday. Included in the signees are second-round selection Kenny Wilson -- an athletic high school center fielder out of Florida.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.