Area baseball star signs contract with $1.3M bonus
Published 10:57 pm Tuesday, July 25, 2023
Cooper Pratt of Oxford ended all speculation of his baseball future Friday afternoon when he signed a contract to play for the Milwaukee Brewers organization.
Pratt, drafted in the sixth round of the Major League Draft earlier this month, inked the deal at the Brewers’ training facility in Phoenix. He had committed to play collegiate baseball at Ole Miss two seasons ago, but chose to turn professional after contract negotiations with the Brewers, who play in the Central Division of the MLB’s National League.
Pratt said it was a “big relief” to sign the contract and move on with his baseball career. “I’m just glad that part is over and I’m blessed to be part of the Brewers organization. This is a great opportunity and I want to thank my parents and coaches for helping me get to this point.”
Terms of the contract released by the Brewers show that Pratt received a signing bonus of $1.35 million, and a contingency bonus of $2,500. The contract will also pay him $128,000 for future college expenses when his baseball career is finished.
The Brewers have not announced where Pratt will be assigned, but early assessments by beat writers closely tied to the organization have written that the 6’4” / 205 lb. shortstop is projected to reach the Major Leagues within four years.
Minor league weekly salaries range from $675 in Rookie ball to $1,200 at the Triple-A level.
The Milwaukee Brewers farm system consists of seven Minor League Baseball affiliates across the United States and in the Dominican Republic. Four teams are owned by the major league club, while three—the Nashville Sounds, Biloxi Shuckers, and Wisconsin Timber Rattlers—are independently owned.
Pratt was projected early in the 2023 MLB draft cycle to be taken in the late first round or early second round with some reports placing him as high as the 31st overall pick. Instead, the Brewers waited until much later than expected, reportedly because front office management wasn’t convinced Pratt would sign any offer because of close connection to the Ole Miss program and his desire to play for Coach Mike Bianco.
Pratt, in several national interviews, repeated that he grew up watching and loving the Ole Miss baseball program and wanted the opportunity to play in front of thousands of fans, including his family, friends, and high school teammates.
In the end, the Brewers stepped forward with a signing bonus figure that normally goes to second round picks. The average bonus for players chosen in the sixth round is about $310,000.
The Brewers’ willingness to pay four times the normal bonus is an indication of the organization’s confidence that he will play his way to the Major Leagues.
One evaluation said Pratt “Has the best bat to ball skills of any hitter in the high school class. Pratt drives the ball in the air almost effortlessly. There is plenty of raw power that he doesn’t even have to try very hard to tap into.”
“He is big and strong and there’s room for more muscle to be added,” he said.
Pratt, the son of Russell and Dr. Heidi Pratt, had an outstanding high school career playing at Magnolia Heights School in Senatobia. He played hundreds of games as a youth at MTrade (formerly FNC) Park with his travel teams, the Yalobusha Giants and BPA.
Additionally, Pratt trains at The Farm facilities on Hwy. 7 in Lafayette County where his father operates a competitive travel baseball program and training opportunities for young players from across the Mid-South.
Cooper’s older brother Ozzie is an infielder for the University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles. He is also an Magnolia Heights alum, and played two seasons at BYU before transferring to the USM campus this summer.
Younger brother Quincy will be a freshman at Magnolia Heights, and has also committed to play for the Rebels. He is a nationally-ranked catcher and outfielder by Perfect Game and other major ranking organizations.
Oxford currently has one native son playing in the Major Leagues – former Oxford Charger and Ole Miss Rebel Grae Kessinger broke into the big leagues with the Houston Astros last month.
Kessinger was drafted in the second round by the Astros in 2019 after a stellar high school and collegiate career.