MLB Draft Profile: Cooper Hjerpe

MLB Draft Profile: Cooper Hjerpe

by June 26, 2022 0 comments

The 2022 MLB Draft is now just a matter of weeks away. Cooper Hjerpe fully cemented himself as one of the top left-handers in the entire class after a terrific sophomore season at Oregon State. He mostly treaded water his first two seasons, pitching out of the bullpen in the 2020 season, moving to the rotation in 2021, before becoming an ace in 2022. The deceptive southpaw led the Beavers to the Super Regionals, where they ultimately lost to Auburn. He did his part in trying to get the squad to the College World Series, striking out six and giving up three runs while taking the win in Game 2 of the series. 

Make sure to check out all of our other MLB Draft Profiles.

Cooper Hjerpe, LHP, Oregon State

Height: 6’3”
Weight: 200 lbs.
DOB: 3/16/2001
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
2020 Stats: 6 G, 12 IP, 1-1, 5.25 ERA, 1.167 WHIP, 7 BB, 16 K
2021 Stats: 17 G, 16 GS, 77 IP, 3-6, 4.21 ERA, 1.169 WHIP, 27 BB, 98 K
2022 Stats: 
18 G, 17 GS, 103 1/3 IP, 11-2, 2.53 ERA, 0.871 WHIP, 23 BB, 161 K

Scouting Grades 

Fastball: 50
Slider: 60
Changeup: 50
Cutter: 50
Control: 65
Overall: 55

Hjerpe tied Oregon State baseball’s single-game strikeout record by punching 17 Stanford batters out on April 1. He was named to the 2022 Pac-12 All-Conference squad, was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award and Dick Howser Trophy, and was named a First Team All-American. The California native was also named the National Pitcher of the Year after breaking the Oregon State single-season record with 161 strikeouts, recording 10 or more punchouts in eight of his 17 starts. 

Strengths

Pitching from a very low release point, Hjerpe has an extremely deceptive delivery. That helps his lack of velocity not be much of a factor, as hitters, especially left-handers, have a tough time picking up the ball out of his hand. His repertoire consists of a running fastball that sits 91-93 mph but plays up, a varying breaking ball that comes out as a sweeping curve and can look more like a tight slider, an average changeup pairs well with the slider-fastball combination, topped off by a new edition in his cutter. Hjerpe is fearless on the mound and attacks hitters while progressing a lot over his three seasons. After starting as a reliever in 2020, the left-hander shifted to Saturday starter in 2021, then the Friday night ace this season. He can be seen as a pitcher that could develop quickly and can get outs in any role in the big leagues. 

Weaknesses 

It is tough to find any weaknesses in Hjerpe’s game, as he is such a polished college arm. With how low of a slot he throws the ball from, his delivery is a tough one to repeat. He has done well to this point to repeat the delivery, but there are moments when he loses his timing. If he wants to remain in the rotation upon breaking ground in the minors, Hjerpe will need to learn how to consistently repeat his deceptive delivery in pro ball.

Pro Comparison: Josh Hader

Along with having similar deceptive deliveries, Hjerpe and Hader also have similar builds, with Hader standing at 6’3″, 180 pounds. Hader wasn’t nearly as sought-after an arm going into the 2012 Draft. Although he was drafted out of high school in the 19th round. Hjerpe has an arsenal that a pitcher like Hader only has. He can also pitch in a similar role if he fails to stick in the rotation. Hader, much like a lot of closers and high-leverage relievers, was a failed starter. No matter what happens with Hjerpe, it’s safe to say his floor is at least at the level of Hader’s or at least close to it. Hjerpe can get outs and isn’t afraid to throw strikes while being massively deceptive.  

Draft Projection: Late First to Early Second

Being one of the most consistent arms this season has put Hjerpe firmly in the conversation to be drafted in the first round. The latest he should be selected is in the early-to-mid second round, especially with such a weak pitching class. One team that could dive back into the college arm well is the Atlanta Braves at pick number 20. The Braves have drafted a college pitcher in back-to-back years, Jared Shuster and Ryan Cusick, with Shuster sitting in the top ten of their prospect list on MLB Pipeline.


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Main Image Credit: From Oregon Live

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