Cooper Osteen Adjusting Well to Pro Ball

It's not unusual for young players to need time to adjust when they start their pro careers. For Cooper Osteen, the adjustment has been easier than it is for many young players. The fact that he is older than many of his teammates certainly helps to make adjustments a little easier.

For Cooper Osteen, the rigors of professional ball aren't as tough to adjust to as they are for some. The Florida heat hasn't been an obstacle for Osteen either.

"I love the heat. Last fall in Mississippi when it was cold, I said I would never complain about the heat again. I like it hot; you get out there and your all warmed up," explained Osteen. Of course, it doesn't hurt that Osteen was born and raised in Ft.Pierce, Florida, so he's used to the Florida weather.

Osteen has been fairly hot offensively as well, playing primarily at second base, but also sliding into other infield spots – particularly shortstop – when needed. Playing other spots could help Osteen down the road, since Tim Moss is entrenched at second base for Clearwater and currently holds the label of being the Phillies' second baseman of the future – if he can unseat Chase Utley at some point. Shortstop meanwhile, is a little more open for applicants and Osteen might fit the bill. Through his first ten professional games, Osteen is hitting .296 with a .345 on-base percentage.

At 22, Osteen is one of the older members of the Gulf Coast League Phillies. He could have been in pro ball at a younger age had he accepted the Braves offer when they drafted him as a freshman. Instead, he continued on with college and feels that he's in a good spot. Having the Threshers based in the same complex as his Gulf Coast League team offers Osteen the opportunity to watch higher level ball. "I enjoy the games," said Osteen. "I'm looking to steal a job," he said jokingly.

"It's a little different playing here with the schedule. We work out in the mornings and get done around three. This is a perfect place to play ball with the Phillies and Threshers right here," said Osteen. It's also a good fit since Osteen feels comfortable with his manager, Jim Morrison. "I like Morrison a lot," confessed Osteen. "He's the kind of guy you can learn a lot from because he's been there, he's done it. Nice to have someone like that you can trust."

Osteen is also somewhat of a free spirit. He recently went with the bleached blonde look as part of a pact with University of Mississippi teammate Matt Maloney, who was also drafted by the Phillies. Maloney – the Phillies third round pick – is pitching for Batavia, one step ahead of Osteen. "We just felt like bleaching our hair one night."

Osteen recently got a bit of a taste of higher ball when the GCL squad played at Tampa's Legends Field, home of the New York Yankees for spring training. "The spring training stadiums are great," said Osteen. "Orlando's stadium is nice too, but we play on one of the back fields and not on the Braves' spring training field."


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