Updated: February 09, 2020 07:23 PM
Created: February 09, 2020 07:00 PM
EAST ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Tanner Cooper is a promising young baseball talent out of the Rochester area. The right-handed pitcher played at Canandaigua and then at the collegiate level.
Now, he's living out his dream playing professional baseball.
"That was something I'd been looking forward to my whole life. Every kid playing Little League dreams of that moment," says Cooper.
Cooper was drafted out of Finger Lakes Community College in the 35th round of the 2019 MLB draft by the Cincinnati Reds.
"I got the call saying I would be drafted in the 36th round, then the Reds pick, who was the 35th round, got taken early," says Cooper. "I actually didn't get the call to congratulate me first. My parents were just watching the name feed pop up and next thing you know, we heard my name and my family rushed and jumped on me."
Cooper has proven himself to be a 2-way player, but now that he's in the Reds organization, he's focusing on pitching. In his rookie season, Cooper finished with a 2.21 ERA, notching 42 strikeouts while allowing 9 earned runs in 36.2 innings.
"I couldn't be happier with where I'm at. I feel like pitching-wise, taking just that kind of leap of faith and doing only the pitching side right now has helped me a bunch," he says. "Getting to focus on just that, my pitches and my abilities have gone up and I'm excited to see where it goes from here."
Cooper is just as well-rounded in life as he is on the baseball field. He substitute-teaches and coaches baseball at Diamond Pro in his free time.
"I was going to school to be a teacher, so it was kind of a cool thing for me to do to get my foot in the door with that and get some experience that way, and I played for Diamond Pro for three or four years in high school. I just love the atmosphere here and most of the things I'm doing here for work are kind of hobbies," Cooper says.
Whether he's on the field or in the classroom, Cooper tries to be a good example for kids that look up to him.
"I kind of try to lead by example and if that's how kids look at me - as a role model - then that's great," says Cooper.
Cooper leaves for spring training on March 3.
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