Top pick takes BP with Blue Jays

Top pick takes BP with Blue Jays

TORONTO -- David Cooper's first trip to Canada was a memorable one for obvious reasons. The first baseman, who was Toronto's top pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, was on hand at Rogers Centre on Saturday afternoon to take part in batting practice with the Blue Jays.

Following his swings at the plate, some of which resulted in balls that cleared the outfield fences, the 21-year-old Cooper could barely contain his excitement.

"It's awesome," Cooper said. "I had a good time today. It was real fun getting to meet a lot of the big league guys and take batting practice with them. It was awesome."

Cooper -- the 17th overall pick in the Draft -- admitted that he was a little nervous when he arrived at the ballpark. That changed though, once he played catch with, and took ground balls alongside Jays first baseman Lyle Overbay.

"I kind of talked to Overbay and tried to pick his brain a little bit," said Cooper. "He's got a lot more knowledge than me at first base. It was fun to talk to him."

Known for his strong offensive skills, the left-handed-hitting Cooper joined the Blue Jays following his standout season with the University of California-Berkeley, where he hit 359 with 19 home runs and 55 RBIs over 56 games.

Upon joining Toronto's farm system this year, Cooper did not miss a step, as he advanced through three Class A levels. In the Minor Leagues this season, Cooper hit a combined .333 with five home runs, 51 RBIs and a .901 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) over 69 games.

"I thought I had a successful season," Cooper said of his first year in professional baseball. "I moved up two levels, so that was good. I thought I hit the ball well and I thought I improved a little bit on defense. I've still got a lot of work to do, but I thought I made steady improvements and hopefully I can continue to do that."

On Sunday, Cooper will conclude his trip north of the border by departing for Florida, where he will work in an instructional league.

So, what exactly are Cooper's thoughts of the country that he hopes to one day represent, by playing for the Blue Jays?

"It's pretty awesome," said Cooper, using his favorite word. "I love it. [Toronto] is one of the coolest cities I've ever been to."

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