ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) – On Tuesday, it became official. There would be no minor league baseball season this year.
The writing was on the wall for quite some time, but it was still disappointing for local players like Canandaigua native Tanner Cooper.
Cooper was looking forward to his first full season in the Cincinnati Reds organization after being drafted in 2019.
“As the days went on it kind of was leaning towards the idea that we weren’t going to have a minor league season so I definitely got to mentally prepare. It wasn’t really something that was just kind of thrown on us,” says Cooper. “It still definitely sucked though. I’m a competitive person. I was ready to get after it this summer and go compete, but I’m going to stay home and try and make the most of it and get better in my own ways.”
Cooper will continue to work on his game this summer by throwing every day, occasionally training with his old high school teammate Adam Scott, a minor leaguer in Cleveland’s system.
It will help that the Reds are continuing to pay their minor league players throughout the summer, allowing Cooper to focus on his craft. He anticipates a summer of hard work will pay off when he returns to spring training next year.
“Obviously, I have a bunch of friends in the Reds organization and I want to see them all succeed,” says Cooper. “But I know there’s going to be those guys that don’t take advantage of the time that we’ve got right now. They’re going to come back looking a little sluggish and a little bit slower than when they left spring training this year. And my goal is to come back even better than where I should be in 2021. So if those guys kind of detract from themselves and I go in looking a lot sharper and a lot better, then hopefully that makes me stand out even more.”
Cooper says he’s already seen increased velocity in his fastball from where it was last year.