PEORIA, Ill. – One of the top pitching prospects in the St. Louis Cardinals farm system is making big strides this season, and he enjoyed one of the finest moments of his young minor-league career on Tuesday.
Cooper Hjerpe, a 2022 first-round selection, fired six no-hit innings Tuesday for the Single-A Peoria Chiefs against the Great Lakes Loons. Hjerpe struck out five hitters and issued just three walks on 86 pitches.
Despite the impressive outing, Hjerpe didn’t end up with the victory. Peoria and Great Lakes were engaged in a scoreless battle through seven innings. The Chiefs won on a ninth-inning walkoff.
Hjerpe, a left-handed hurler out of Oregon State University, tossed his second straight quality start in his no-hit bid. It was his second consecutive quality start and fourth straight of five-plus innings.
During that stretch, he struck out a career-high eight hitters on May 9. The southpaw is averaging around 11 strikeouts per nine innings this season, not just the best among Cardinals prospects this year, but also among the top of all minor league pitchers.
“You have to do the work, and really, everyone’s road is different,” said Hjerpe in a feature from Dave Eminan of the Peoria Journal Star. “I’m comfortable with the path I’ve started on.”
The 22-year-old gets the best results on his slider and has a similar delivery to Red Sox ace Chris Sale. However, his fastball peaked around 95 mph as recently as last year. This spring, he also worked to polish a changeup and cutter to his repertoire.
Ahead of his draft selection in 2022, Hjerpe was named the National Pitcher of the Year by three organizations, the College Baseball Foundation, Perfect Game, and the American Baseball Coaches Association.
Hjerpe has a 2-3 record with a 3.66 ERA and 1.22 WHIP on the season. He was ranked the Cardinals’ sixth-best prospect by MLB Pipeline.