Prospect Countdown #58 : Harrison Cooney

Top 100 Los Angeles Angels' Prospects Countdown, #58 : Right-Handed Pitcher, Harrison Cooney (photo : Jerry Espinoza)

Harrison Cooney, Right-Handed Pitcher

HT : 6'2
WT : 175
DOB : March 23, 1992 (23), in Cincinnati, Ohio
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : Florida Gulf Coast (Fort Myers, FL)
Acquired : Drafted in 6th Round of 2013 MLB Draft
Last Year's Ranking : #39

There's a high load of promise in the story of Harrison Cooney. However, there are many things to piece together before you see him pitching for the Los Angeles Angels. A poor season made his stock drop, but the promise never left, and Cooney could be a nice relief piece in the near future.


Cooney comes equipped with a fine pair of fastballs in a four-seam and two-seam that both move well. His four-seam has nice arm-side run coming in around 90-95, but can jump into the high 90's, touching 98 at times. His two-seam has good depth and glove-side sink which improved late in the season with some small adjustments. He uses his fastball to set up his off-speed pitches, but tends to over throw it which causes him to fall off the mound and lose balance, leading to command issues.

Mechanically, Cooney is very raw. He has a smooth delivery but loses his release point too often and over powers himself which leads to the above mentioned loss of balance and command. He only began pitching as a senior in high school, and is relatively new to pitching in general. He'll need to simplify his delivery to control his smooth mechanics, which in turn could give him better command which is currently poor. He has a good knowledge of pitching and how to set up the batter, but it goes to waste when he doesn't stay simple and loses his release point. Cooney does get high marks on maintaining his arm slot though, which creates deception when hiding the ball behind his frame.

Cooney has room to grow physically, as he has every year since his prep years. Coming from a scrawny frame at under six-feet, he's grown nearly every year and that should continue. As he adds muscle, you may see his velocity grow to maintain upper 90's speed with his fastball. He is aggressive on the mound, which should result in a move to the bullpen as opposed to the rotation where he's been the last two years. With that, he could focus on being aggressive while hurling in a high 90's fastball - added with the ability to set up batters - and become a late inning reliever.

As for Cooney's off-speed offerings, he has a duo between his slider and changeup. He has a good feel for his changeup which comes in around 15 miles per hour slower than his fastball with the same arm-side run as his four-seam, creating some laughable swing and misses. His breaking pitch registers in as a slider, but can get slurve-like. It has a hard breaking movement with a late drop in the low 80's, making it hard to read out of the hand. There's a lot of promise behind his off-speed pitch as it continues to develop. Cooney mixes his pitches well adding to overall arsenal.

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Cooney was a complete stud his senior year and first year pitching at Vero Beach High School. That year, Cooney compiled a 7-1 record and 1.52 ERA while striking out 55 in 50.2 innings. He held three one-hitters, with five complete games, while having his best outing come as a no-hitter where he allowed just one base runner on a walk. He committed to Florida Gulf Coast, while declining offers from Miami (FL) and LSU, as well as the Pittsburgh Pirates after being drafted in the 40th Round.

Between his freshman and sophomore year at FGCU, Cooney posted a 5.45 ERA, while holding a 7-5 record with four saves. Cooney struck out 6.69 batters per nine over his first two collegiate years, including at least one in 12 of his 18 relief outings as a freshman, and a then career-high five in a scoreless start his sophomore year against Rutgers.

Cooney was the highlight piece for FGCU's pitching staff his junior year, collecting a 3.24 ERA with a 6-6 record, five saves, and 59 strikeouts in 66.2 innings of work. Cooney held the third best ERA, innings pitched and strikeouts at FGCU his junior year, all while holding bats to a .229 average. Cooney matched his previous career high five strikeouts twice, once against then-ranked 13 Florida, while allowing just two hits. Cooney highlighted his collegiate career with his first start of 2013, going six scoreless innings of two-hit work against Northern Kentucky, while striking out a new career-high eight.

Cooney struggled right out of the draft, posting a 5.10 ERA and 1.300 WHIP in the hitter friendly Pioneer League. He was plagued by pitching in one of the more offensive parks, which showed as he held bats to a .559 OPS on the road and .778 at home. It also showed in his ERA splits, posting a 2.45 ERA on the road and 7.63 at home. Cooney also held base runners to a minimum, recording a 1.023 WHIP on the road his debut professional season.

Cooney flashed excellence in his first full season, recording a 2.65 ERA in Low-A, with a 1.233 WHIP and 9-8 record. Batters jumped on Cooney in his final five starts where he allowed 13 runs in 26 innings, while bats teed off for an .809 OPS. However, he was stellar in his first 20 starts, posting a 2.19 ERA, holding bats to a .216 average and keeping base runners low with his 1.140 WHIP.

Last season, Cooney struggled and it showed highly in his numbers, posting a 6.61 ERA and 1-16 record in High-A. Cooney did find a groove in July, holding bats to a .194 average and allowing less than one base runner per inning, helping him to a 2.67 ERA (four home runs). Cooney was given an opportunity to flash some excellence in the AFL, where he allowed just three base runners in his final five outings, never letting any come home.

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It's becoming more and more evident that Cooney is headed towards the bullpen, which should be a good thing for his career. After a tough year in High-A, Cooney put together a strong set of outings in the Arizona Fall League, which could indicate he's nearing time in Double-A. Spring Training will be the tell tale sign as to where Cooney lands at the beginning of 2016, but time is on his side which should mean a return to High-A as a back end reliever is a likely scenario.

Cooney has a fine package of tools that could turn him into a fine reliever. With the specific tool of a running fastball in the high 90's, he gives the Angels a potential back end reliever for the future, but he has to see time in that spot before he makes the big strides toward the Majors. If everything comes together, you could see Cooney pitching in the big leagues by the 2018 season, and possibly earning himself a spot in the bullpen for a lengthy time.

For more updates on the Los Angeles Angels, their prospects, and our Top 100 Prospects Countdown, follow us on Twitter, @AngelsOnScout. Keep up with our countdown on Twitter with the hashtag, #LAATop100Prospects.

This article was published by Taylor Blake Ward, who serves as a Senior Publisher for, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.

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