2023 MLB Draft Profile: Cooper Pratt

The poster is hard to miss in Cooper Pratt’s room.

Fenway Park.

Home of the Boston Red Sox, and yes, home to the New Balance Baseball Future Stars Series and the Main Event last year, where the action on that poster became a reality. Pratt was one of the breakout stars, smashing a long home run at Hartford’s Dunkin’ Donuts Park, something that the Ole Miss commit says surprised him a bit with how early it was in the weekend.

“It was actually really cool, because usually at these big events, I don’t really do too good,” Pratt told FSS Plus.

“The first day, I did really good at Hartford, and then it was a blast at Fenway kind of seeing the old-timey stadium. It was really cool getting to see these minor league, big league parks and being able to perform in them. When I go to these big things, it takes me a while to heat up, and I started off strong there, so it was really fun and I really enjoyed it…it’s nerve-wracking, you don’t get to play in those type of situations all the time. It’s one of those things you have to get used to.”

Indeed.

Pratt is currently ranked 35th on Joe Doyle’s FSS Plus 2023 MLB Draft Top 500, and is projected by most outlets to be a potential late first-round, or early second-round pick.

He says the rankings are “cool to look at now” as well as before the high school season, but during it, he found himself looking at them too much and his performance started to suffer. Of course, the video that made the rounds on Twitter in which he silenced some fans at a high school game who were chanting “overrated” with a long home run was a reminder of it whether he wanted it or not.

“That,” Pratt said through a smile, “was just fun.”

His run with the Future Stars Series has been an impressive one, dating all the way back to a Scout Day in 2019 and culminating with a summer three years later in which he attended the National Combine, earned the invite to the Main Event and then finished up strong with an appearance in the inaugural Caribbean Classic, a trip that Pratt says was both “awesome” and “hit deep” seeing what kids in other countries have to go through to try to make a living playing the game.

But, it was that showing in Boston that didn’t necessarily put him on the map, but cemented his presence on it.

“It was awesome,” Pratt said. “I don’t hit many home runs, most of the time I just hit the wall or I’ll get warning track power, so being able to pull one out of there…before the game, in BP, it was dead, and I was thinking, ‘OK, doubles, singles,’ but fortunately enough, I got a pitch that I could hit, and I hit it out and it felt really good, I’m not going to lie.”

The home run was off his best friend, Hudson Mattox — a fellow Ole Miss commit who he plans on rooming with at Ole Miss — which is something the two have joked around about a bit since it happened. Well aware of his surroundings, Pratt says he was sitting on a certain pitch.

“At all these events, if I’m the first hitter of the inning, that first pitch, it’s 99 percent going to be a fastball,” he said. “I got a fastball, and hit a fastball.”

Pratt may be ready to throw big league teams a bit of a curve, however.

It certainly seems more than fair to say that the Mississippi native is leaning towards honoring that commitment to his dream school.

“The plan is college unless something changes,” he said. “We’ve talked about it a little. It’s two great options, Ole Miss or the Draft, but I’ve just got to wait and see what happens…I’m in a situation where two things are possible, but, it’s Ole Miss. It’s going to take a lot to not go to Ole Miss, it’s pretty electric there.”

Pratt is actually a native of Hialeah, Florida, but moved to Mississippi at the age of four. A big Miami fan growing up, his family would go to Ole Miss baseball games about ten minutes away from their home when he was growing up, and he came to appreciate the atmosphere at the ballpark. As he grew up, the thought of being able to play around friends and family was a no-brainer, and he ultimately committed there.

Even with that commitment, the level of attention around Pratt as he entered his Draft eligible year in high school was a lot to take in, but something he says he was able to handle with relative ease.

“I mean, we kind of just focused on baseball the whole time,” he said. “I wouldn’t say block it out, but I really didn’t focus on it. Just, it’s same old, same old. Hit every night, go to high school practice, go home, practice more, lift, go to bed. It’s baseball. You try not to make it more. I’m fortunate enough to play for a couple coaches that, they humble you real quick. So, if you mess up, you’re going to get told how much you suck and stuff, but you get to a point where it’s just in one ear and out the other, so you tend to not get too much in your emotions and just play the game.”

His trajectory to get to this point started to change, he said, last summer, with big showings with the Future Stars Series, in Jupiter and at East Coast Pro, with his focus on just getting to play baseball when maybe some others were shutting it down.

Going through the travel ball circuit made him a better player. Specifically, a better team player.

“It’s awesome getting to play with some of those guys that you know are going to be pretty good prospects going up in the coming years,” Pratt said. “But, honestly, the best thing I had was my BPA team. We didn’t have the best offense or anything like that, but we always won. (You always hear) it’s a team game, and we played so good together as a team, everyone contributed. It was one of those things where I don’t care if I have to bunt here; that was probably the biggest thing for me that helped, was playing for that team and the stuff that went on. It was awesome, I loved those guys.”

But now, the focus shifts to the future. And whichever path Pratt ends up taking, he’s grateful for the journey that’s gotten him to such a significant fork in the road.

“As of now, I’m just training for whatever happens,” he said. “As you know, I’m pumped to get to Ole Miss on campus. If I get drafted, that’s awesome. It’s like you’ve got those butterflies in your stomach and you can’t wait for what the future holds.”

Mike Ashmore
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