(Patrick Copen MetroNews Talkline interview)
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Patrick Copen’s trip to Arizona this weekend will be his first step as a professional baseball player. It is one that has been earned by working his way up through the high school and college baseball ranks in West Virginia.
On Monday, Copen was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the seventh round of the Major League Baseball Draft with the 220th pick. Copen was one of two Marshall pitchers taken in this year’s draft, joining Zac Addkison. Although his minor league destination is not yet known, Copen will sign his professional contract and go through physical tests at the Dodgers’ training complex in Phoenix.
“This has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember,” Copen said. “It is surreal and I am just excited to get out to Arizona and start putting in some work.”
Copen’s rise up the draft boards in his junior season was not a surprise. As the No. 1 weekend starter for the Thundering Herd, scouts and radar guns were fixtures at his starts throughout the spring.
“Multiple scouting department personnel came to watch my games over the course of the season. And then I attended some pre-draft camps for some teams. Then I attended the MLB Draft Combine at the end of June. That’s where teams conducted meetings with players and we also went through strength and conditioning tests.”
The Dodgers had expressed interest prior to the draft and Copen had a feeling that his name would be called in the early rounds.
“My family, my grandparents, my brothers and my girlfriend, we were all just sitting on the couch watching the TV. We had known that the Dodgers were extremely interested. My advising group was trying to get them to take me in the round before. That didn’t work out. Everybody had a feeling that the seventh round was going to be the lucky round at the Dodgers’ slot. We all just sat there holding our breath until the 220th pick came up.
“Once my name was called, it was pure joy and excitement, lots of hugs and lots of emotions. It was one of the best moments of my life up until this point.”
Copen graduated from Parkersburg Catholic High School in 2020. An offseason growth spurt during his first year with the Thundering Herd gave Copen a huge boost in his fastball. It was at that point when Copen had a feeling that professional baseball could be in his future.
“I gained a bunch of weight and muscle in the offseason leading up to the spring. Due to that, I got an increase in velocity on my fastball. So I was throwing very hard and I didn’t really know how it happened. It just kind of happened for me. That’s when my coaches and older teammates talked to me and said, ‘Hey, your velocity you have right now as a 19-year-old is something none of us have. You can take it to the next level’.”