One strikeout at a time: An interview with Blue Jays prospect Connor Cooke

Dunedin Blue Jays v Tampa Tarpons
Dunedin Blue Jays v Tampa Tarpons / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages
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As Spring Training winds down on a sunny, late-March Florida day, a young prospect summoned from the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen is asked to clean up a sixth-inning jam against the Yankees. With little fanfare around the Grapefruit League debut, the right-hander gets out of the inning with a pop up and a strikeout, flashing the talent and arsenal that has carried him to this opportunity.

Meet Connor Cooke, the Blue Jays pitching prospect making a name for himself with his swing-and-miss stuff and a recent promotion to Double-A New Hampshire.

Coming out of the 2021 MLB Draft, most fans wouldn’t have given much thought to the team’s 10th-round pick, but Cooke has made significant strides since joining the Jays’ development system. From a handful of innings in the Complex League and Low-A at the end of 2021 to his first full season last year, split between Low-A and High-A, he has steadily risen through the prospect rankings.

Back in March, FanGraphs had Cooke as the 32nd-ranked Jays’ prospect. That was before he lit up the High-A Northwest League, striking out hitters left and right and earning his well-deserved May 16 call-up to the Fisher Cats.