Q&A With Pitt Johnstown Commit Tanner Cook

By Greg Williams
PA Director of Scouting

Tanner CookTanner Cook (Huntingdon Area HS) is a prototypical top of the order hitter that can affect a game with his foot speed on offense and defense. The 5-foot-9, 150-pound right-handed hitter displayed very good range and solid straight line throws to the plate with good carry at 84 mph during the PA Top Prospect Games in June. 

Cook recently announced his verbal commitment to play his college baseball at the University of Pitt at Johstown. The Mountain Cats join the ultra-competitive Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference in 2014. Cook becomes the 16th prospect in the PBR Class of 2014 rankings to commit to a PSAC school and the second to commit to Pitt Johnstown. Earlier this fall, 2B/RHP Devon Walker, the PBR District 9 Player of the Year in 2013, also announced his commitment to become a Mountain Cat.

Cook talked with Prep Baseball Report about the process that led to his decision and his goals for his senior season.

PBR: Where have you decided to attend college and why did you make this choice? 

Cook: I decided to attend the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown as it is a great fit for me, both academically and athletically. I’ll earn a Pitt degree and have an opportunity to play my freshman year for an excellent baseball program in the competitive PSAC.  

PBR: What other schools were you considering? 

Cook: I was also considering the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Shippensburg, Millersville, and Slippery Rock. 

PBR: Was distance from home a factor in your decision? 

Cook: Yes, it is important to me that my family can come and watch me play. 

PBR:  Where did the coaches first see you?  How did your relationship develop with their coaching staff? 

Cook: I first heard from Coach Williams this summer and he invited me to visit the campus. He stressed the importance of being a student-athlete and how academics come first. I knew when I visited with him that UPJ was the right place for me. 

PBR:  What role do the coaches expect you to play your first year on campus? 

Cook: My freshman year, I have an opportunity to start in centerfield, but I must work hard to achieve that starting role.

PBR:  What is your biggest strength as a player and how do you feel that will help your team?

Cook: I feel my biggest strength is my speed, both on the base paths and in the outfield. I enjoy the leadoff spot so that I can create scoring opportunities for my team. I count on my speed, as well as my instincts, to play the outfield.

PBR:  Who do you play for in the summer and what was your most memorable experience from this past summer?

Cook: I have played for Chandler Baseball for the past four years. I have many memorable moments while playing for Chandler, including playing with talented players at amazing baseball venues. But my most memorable moment was playing for former MLB player, Doug Strange, this past summer. He taught me a lot about baseball to prepare me to play at the college level.

I also played on a AAABA team in the Altoona League where I played with two of my future teammates at UPJ. I had an opportunity to play at Point Stadium in Johnstown also, which is UPJ's home field. These were both memorable moments, which helped me with my decision.

PBR:  What is your current GPA?

Cook: My current GPA is a 3.81.

PBR:  Now that you have your commitment out of the way, what are your goals both individually and for the team going into your senior season?

Cook: Individually, I want to increase my speed. I consistently run a 6.8 60-yard dash now, but plan to be at a 6.5 when I attend college. I also want to improve my strength by working hard in the weight room this offseason. Last season, my team had an excellent year as we made it into the semi-finals of districts and almost beat a now minor league pitcher. We only lost two seniors from last year, so we have a lot of young talented starters coming back this year and should compete for a district title and go far in the states.   

PBR: How did Prep Baseball Report aid you in gaining exposure as a potential college baseball recruit?

Cook: Prep Baseball Report provided college coaches with numerous opportunities to gain interest in me through various events I attended, as well as my profile and video on the PBR website. I really appreciate everything that PBR has done for me.

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