WICHITA, Kans. (February 9, 2018) – The Wichita Wingnuts are bringing back one of the most integral pieces of their 2017 rotation, as the team announced Friday that right-handed pitcher Jordan Cooper has re-signed.
“We’re very excited to have ‘Coop’ back in Wichita for 2018,” Wingnuts manager Brent Clevlen said. “Having his leadership and experience at the top end of our rotation will be a key part of our success this year.”
After the Wingnuts acquired Cooper from the Kansas City T-Bones in an offseason trade prior to last season, the right-hander kicked off his 2017 campaign with a brilliant stretch of 20 consecutive scoreless innings. The streak included two separate instances of seven shutout frames against the Salina Stockade, sandwiched around six scoreless innings against the Winnipeg Goldeyes. Cooper ultimately finished top-20 in the league in both games started (19) and innings pitched (108.2), racking up an 8-2 record. The 19 starts tied a career-high, while the 108.2 innings represented the second-highest mark in Cooper’s eight-year professional career.
For the season, Cooper finished with a 3.98 ERA, one of only nine starters in the American association to make at least 19 starts and record an ERA below 4.00. Cooper also delivered a quality start in his lone postseason appearance, flipping six strong innings while allowing three runs in the Wingnuts 5-3 game three Championship Series victory over Winnipeg.
Born in Topeka, Cooper was first drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 17th round of the 2008 draft out of Shawnee Heights High School in Tecumseh, Kans. Rather than sign, Cooper elected to pitch collegiately at Wichita State.
Cooper pitched two seasons for the Shockers and cemented himself as one of the best hurlers in the program’s storied history. After a freshman season in which he won eight games and posted a 2.78 ERA, Cooper came back even stronger for his sophomore campaign. Over 15 starts, the righty went 10-3 with a 2.01 ERA, tossing five complete games and securing the Missouri Valley Conference’s Pitcher of the Year award.
Cooper was drafted again following his stellar sophomore season at Wichita State, this time in the ninth round by the Cleveland Indians. After signing, he spent the summer of 2010 in the Short-Season New York/Penn League with Mahoning Valley. Cooper made his full-season minor league debut with Class-A Lake County the following year, then split 2012 between Lake County and High-A Carolina before reaching Double-A Akron for the first time in 2013.
The 28-year old pitched the next three seasons in Akron and Triple-A Columbus. Over seven total seasons in the Cleveland organization, Cooper made 157 appearances, 74 of which were starts, and had a 4.18 ERA in 555.0 career innings.
Cooper’s signing brings the number of Wingnuts players under contract for the 2018 season up to nine. American Association clubs may carry up to 28 players during spring training, which opens on May 6.
Stay up to date on all player signings and transactions by checking on the Wingnuts roster here.
The 11th season of Wingnuts baseball and the club’s pursuit of an eighth consecutive division title kicks off with a three-game home series against the Kansas City T-Bones, beginning on Friday, May 18. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.