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No. 1 pick 'thrilled' Jays drafted him

No. 1 pick 'thrilled' Jays drafted him

TORONTO -- David Cooper was at home in Stockton, Calif., on Thursday, paying close attention to the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. Surrounded by family and friends, there was an obvious sense of excitement for Cooper when the Blue Jays announced that they would draft the first baseman as their No. 1 pick with the 17th overall selection.

"We were all very excited," Cooper said during a conference call on Friday. "Everyone was jumping up and down when we found out. It was a great day."

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The 21-year-old, out of the University of California-Berkeley, also said he was "thrilled" to be drafted by the Toronto franchise. When the Jays selected Cooper as their first pick, it was seen as a surprise to some. However, Cooper had an inkling that he might end up with the Blue Jays.

"I knew they were one of the teams that was interested," he said, adding that he remembered seeing Toronto scouts in the stands during a few of his games over the past year.

"I knew they were a team that I could fall to, and I'm just very happy that it worked out that way."

The left-handed-hitting Cooper is known for his strong offensive abilities. In 56 games with California-Berkeley this season, he hit .359 with 19 home runs and 55 RBIs. The 6-foot-1 and 210-pound first baseman also added 14 doubles and 55 runs to go along with a .449 on-base percentage and a .682 slugging percentage.

His strong play helped him become a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, USA Baseball's Golden Spikes Award and the Wallace Award.

Considered by scouts to be a decent fielder at first base with average speed, Cooper knows his strength as a baseball player lies in his offensive abilities.

Blue Jays' top five selections
Pick
POS
Name
School
17.1BDavid CooperUC Berkeley
63.CFKenneth WilsonSickles HS (Fla.)
95.RHPAndrew LiebelCal St Long Beach
129.3BRobert SobolewskiU of Miami
159.SSTyler PastornickyThe Pendleton School (Fla.)
Complete Blue Jays Draft results >

"I'd say my strength is my bat," he admitted. "Being a first baseman, I'm going to have to obviously swing the bat pretty well."

Cooper is also confident that he will be able to sign with Toronto "quickly." Once that happens, though, he will stay realistic with his goals of making it to the Major League club.

"In terms of development and as far as a timeline goes," he said, "a lot of it is going to depend on how well I perform, how well I progress and how well [the Jays] see me going through the [Minor League system]."

David Singh is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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