Jordan Dean, Zach Cooper taken in Day 2 of MLB Draft
It was a long wait, but for two Central Michigan baseball players their dreams have become reality.
Junior shortstop Jordan Dean and senior pitcher Zach Cooper were drafted in the 15th round of the MLB Draft Tuesday. Both were taken in the final five picks of the day.
Dean went first to the Detroit Tigers with pick No. 484 and minutes later Cooper was picked by the Philadelphia Phillies at No. 488, the final pick of Day 2.
“I was shocked because I didn’t get a phone call beforehand,” Dean said. “I was listening to the draft broadcast on the porch and all of a sudden we heard my name … I was overwhelmed and excited.”
Dean is a junior, allowing him the opportunity to turn down a Major League Baseball contract and return to CMU for his senior season.
“The important thing for a junior is to make sure … financially he gets what he needs,” said head coach Steve Jaksa. “You don’t want to undersell yourself and Jordan, he’s a good student and academics are important to him.”
Cooper was in the same situation last year that Dean is in now. He was drafted by the Miami Marlins in round 46 of the 2011 MLB Draft and decided to come back for his senior season.
“I didn’t think that I was ready and that there was a lot I could continue to improve upon,” Cooper said.
Dean, the Midland native who played high school at Bullock Creek, was one of the top hitters in the nation this season. He recorded 96 hits, reaching second most all-time in single-season school history.
“Jordan brings high energy,” Jaksa said. “Hitting is his best tool, although he has very good quickness and range.”
Cooper returned to the Chippewas as the team’s ace and went 7-5 with 2.82 ERA, throwing three complete games and two shutouts.
“Coop was our Friday ace, he’s the guy that went out there and won all our Friday games,” Jaksa said. “He’s going to be aggressive in the strike zone and break quite a few bats and have the opportunity to climb up the ladder.”
Having to wait to hear your name called could drive an inspiring professional ballplayer crazy, so players will do different things to take their mind off of their futures.
“Today I went golfing with my dad just to ease the tension a little bit,” Cooper said. “Just have fun and relax, I knew what to expect because of last year.”
For Dean, it becomes decision time. Cooper, however, will begin planning his future with the Phillies.
“I fly out to Tampa on Sunday to get my physical and all that, then I’m heading to Williamsport for short-season,” Cooper said.
Dean and Cooper are just the latest in a long line of CMU players to have been drafted. Jaksa expects more Wednesday.
“I thought we had a chance to get another one in the top 15 (rounds) and I think tomorrow we’re going to have a few more guys,” Jaksa said. “It shows that if you come to Central Michigan you’ll have the opportunity to play at the next level.”
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