Dodgers take RHP Cooper with pick No. 62

Dodgers take RHP Cooper with pick No. 62

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers believe University of Texas right-handed pitcher Morgan Cooper, taken with their 62nd overall pick in the second round of Monday's 2017 Major League Draft, can be fast-tracked.

"I hope so," said scouting director Billy Gasparino. "Given his experience at the University of Texas, we definitely expect him to hit the ground running. The difference with him is that most of his stuff is present, so we're not waiting for a pitch to come, or to work on the delivery. We think a lot of it is in place."

The Dodgers also went with a college player in the first round, taking Vanderbilt center fielder Jeren Kendall with the 23rd overall pick.

Cooper is 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds. He went 6-3 with a 2.32 ERA with 110 strikeouts in 89 1/3 innings this year as a starter, and that's what he will be if he signs with the Dodgers. Gasparino said the Dodgers nearly drafted Cooper last year.

Dodgers' 23rd overall pick: Jeren Kendall

Dodgers' 62nd overall pick: Morgan Cooper

"He has an active fastball and two breaking balls now that we think are potential plus pitches. We like the package a lot," said Gasparino. "He has a lot of starter qualities and we feel confident he'll be a starter."

In Cooper, the current Dodgers regime continued a trend in taking a pitcher that has already had Tommy John elbow reconstruction. Cooper missed the 2015 season with it, but bounced back strong this year.

"He's what you'd expect out of a Texas college pitcher -- he's big and strong, really competitive with a mean streak on the mound," said Gasparino. "A feel for the change and we like the physical package a lot. Two years off Tommy John surgery and it seems he's turning it up and coming into his own."

The first player the current Dodgers management selected with its first pick in its first Draft was Vanderbilt pitcher Walker Buehler, who needed Tommy John surgery after his 2015 selection.

The Draft continues Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 9:30 a.m. PT, with exclusive coverage beginning at 10 a.m. PT.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.