Cardinals select LHP Cooper Hjerpe No. 22 overall in first round of MLB Draft

Hjerpe had an 11-2 record with a 2.53 ERA for Oregon State this past season.
Cooper Hjerpe is selected by the St. Louis Cardinals with the 22nd pick of the 2022 MLB...
Cooper Hjerpe is selected by the St. Louis Cardinals with the 22nd pick of the 2022 MLB baseball draft, Sunday, July 17, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)(Jae C. Hong | AP)
Published: Jul. 17, 2022 at 9:06 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) - With the No. 22 pick in Sunday’s MLB Draft, the Cardinals took the opportunity to strengthen the depth of the organization’s pitching. The Cardinals selected left-handed pitcher Cooper Hjerpe out of Oregon State, adding an exciting collegiate arm to the prospect stash.

Hjerpe (pronounced JER-pee) is a lefty with a notable side-arm style delivery that accentuates a remarkable slider that should certainly make hitters uncomfortable in the batter’s box.

The 21-year-old put together strong numbers across a substantial workload of 103.1 innings pitched in this past year, his junior season at Oregon State. He compiled an 11-2 record with a 2.53 ERA this past season, posting an impressive strikeout rate: 161 Ks in 103.1 innings. For such gaudy strikeout numbers, Hjerpe’s low walk total of 23 seems particularly notable.

His 6-foot,3-inch frame and funky delivery from the left side have caused outside voices to compare him to successful big-league starting pitcher Chris Sale.

“His delivery is unique and matches some of the names he’s been (compared) to,” Cardinals Director of Scouting Randy Flores said Sunday.

Flores shared the department’s belief that Hjerpe has tremendous weapons on the mound and stressed the value of how his pitches all come from a unique angle. Flores also mentioned that his pitches “all tunnel very well” meaning they complement one another and come from a similar arm slot to the extent that hitters may have trouble differentiating one from another in the batter’s box.

That’s a unique aspect to his game that could allow Hjerpe to thrive—and potentially, as Flores articulated Sunday night, move quickly through the minor-league levels of professional baseball.

“He’s someone that we hope can move fast once we hand him off to... our player development department,” Flores said.

Flores explained that the Cardinals believe the upper levels of his velocity could still be in front of him down the road, but even without an increase on that front, St. Louis believes Hjerpe has a bright future and was thrilled to see him fall into the Cardinals’ laps at No. 22.