Cooper Pratt made a name for himself on the showcase circuit in 2022. The Magnolia Heights (Miss.) High School shortstop broke out and was arguably the top performer at the Future Stars Series in September. He continued his success a month later at the World Wood Bat Association World Championship, hitting .385 with BPA Mississippi.
The toolset Pratt displayed, and the success he experienced on the showcase circuit raised his profile with professional scouts. It also gave him confidence heading into his final high school baseball season.
“Most of the best players don’t go to that tournament,” said Pratt on the WWBA event. “I had the mindset of wanting to keep playing. My dad helps coach BPA too. It’s baseball. It is fun to do. I don’t know why people stop playing and take a break. If you have a chance to play, play, and it ended up helping me out.”
Pratt is one of the top players in the 2023 prep class due to his showcase circuit performance and overall intangibles on the diamond. Scouts project the highly-regarded prep shortstop as a potential first-round pick in July’s MLB draft.
“I don’t get too drawn into the attention,” Pratt said. “It is cool to look at, especially when you are on a draft board. I joke around with my parents and friends. But outside of that, I don’t really talk about it.”
Pratt is a 6-foot-4, 200-pound shortstop with a well-balanced toolset offensively and defensively. He is an underrated player with a strong chance to rise up draft boards this spring.
Defensively, Pratt is an above-average defender with strong instincts and quality athleticism. He moves well for his size and has soft hands at shortstop. He also has above-average arm strength and throwing accuracy. Scouts believe Pratt can remain at shortstop in the future.
“My top tool is probably my defense,” Pratt said. “I have always been able to make a play. Every game, I know my defense is going to be there. I don’t expect to make errors. I practice defense all the time. For me, I feel like I can make the routine play and difficult play. All my years of practicing defense are starting to pay off.”
Pratt, a right-handed hitter, is one of the better hitters in the 2023 prep class. He has quality bat-to-ball skills and strike-zone awareness. He also has a quick swing and makes consistent and hard contact to all fields. Right now, Pratt is a gap-to-gap hitter but figures to hit for power in the future.
“I don’t feel like I am not strong, but the power is the last tool to come,” Pratt said. “Right now, I’m not trying to hit home runs. Scouts I talk to tell me to just hit doubles and doubles turn into home runs as you mature. I’m not really worried about it, but that is definitely the last thing I need to get.”
Pratt will have a difficult decision to make in July. He will have to decide between honoring his commitment to the University of Mississippi or starting a pro career straight out of high school.
Pratt verbally committed to Ole Miss about three weeks after the program offered him a scholarship in the summer leading up to his freshman year of high school in 2019. The university’s location and relationship with Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco played significant roles in his commitment.
Ole Miss is a consistent NCAA Tournament team and captured its first national title in 2022.
“It’s Ole Miss,” Pratt said. “We are really close friends with the Biancos and have been for a long time. The atmosphere is amazing. I live about 10 minutes away, and it’s the full package. Good baseball, my parents can come, I can go to school and great coaches. It just all fits.”
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Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for eight years. He has interviewed 433 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com, The Arizona Republic and The Dallas Morning News, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.