RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — The MLB Draft is just three days away and one South Dakota athlete is looking to hear his name called.
Rapid City native, Cooper Bowman, played his legion baseball for Post 22, a team that helped prepare him for the next level.
“Post 22 does a great job preparing kids for college. There’s just a certain of accountability and expectation that they hold and I know a lot of high school programs around the country don’t, just by meeting kids from around the country,” MLB Draft hopeful Cooper Bowman said. “It’s literally ran like a college program is ran and you really can’t ask for much else. You’ve just got to be bought in on it.”
Following a two year stint at Iowa Western, Bowman was faced with a tough decision as he looked to take his next step in college baseball.
“When it came down to decision time, it was like, man, where I am I going to fit in the most? I wasn’t really sure how I’d fit in the SEC,” Bowman said. “I just like stealing bases, I like running, I like playing hard and that’s what Louisville is all about. It worked out well.”
Bowman earned a .293 batting average while slugging eight homeruns and 22 runs batted in, while playing for Louisville and that success helped grab attention at the professional level.
“I really didn’t think about it during the season, to be completely honest. After the season, I was like man, now what? Do I play summer ball? Do I get ready for a possible draft? I ended up just coming home and training and then going to the combine,” Bowman said. “It’s about a week away and I don’t know if it’s kicked in yet, but we’ll see next week.”
The season ended on May 27 and since that point, Bowman has been planning for his next step.
“It’s been crazy. Just on the phone a lot, trying to figure stuff out, trying to figure out what’s best for me,” Bowman said. “The cool thing is, there really is no wrong way to go. It’s either start my pro career or play another year in the ACC and finish my degree. I mean, it’s really a win-win.”
The contract from whichever team drafts Bowman will be an important factor in his decision of college vs. professional baseball.
“In a realistic world, that determines a lot, because you have to live off of that,” Bowman said. “If that’s something that you feel is fair and that you can live off that for a while and chase your dream then absolutely. And if not, the worst case scenario is to go play another year in the ACC and finish schooling.”
Bowman joins three other South Dakota natives as names to watch in this years draft. Fellow Rapid City native, Bransen Kuehl, Hurley native Chase Mason and Pierre native Peyton Zabel are the other names to watch for this weekend.
“Wherever I go, whether it was Iowa Western or Louisville, it’s kind of a joke, you know like, ‘he’s from South Dakota and it’s like riding tractors to school,’ and they give us all a hard time,” Bowman said. “It’s just cool that all three of us got to hang out at the combine together and kind of meet up. I obviously know Bransen a lot than I know Chase, just from playing with him, but yeah, it’s cool just to have a couple kids represent our state.”
Round one of the MLB Draft will be on Sunday, with rounds 2-10 on Monday and rounds 11-20 on Tuesday.