Orioles outfield prospect Kyle Stowers began his 2021 season with the High-A Aberdeen IronBirds and quickly earned a call-up to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. The left-handed hitter made his Double-A debut June 22.
The 23-year-old credits his success to the vibrant atmosphere in Bowie, where he is able to play beside talented players and coaches.
“I think a big part of it has been the advanced competition [that] has forced me to make adjustments really quickly,” Stowers said on Glenn Clark Radio July 22. “I think within three or four games, I just noticed some inefficiencies in my approach and then also areas that could improve in my mindset … and if I have a couple of bad at-bats during the next game, I don’t allow it to waver my confidence as I go through my next at-bat.”
Throughout the month of July in Bowie, Stowers has grown to admire how the coaching staff pushes each player to be the best he can be and their emphasis on “resilience.”
Stowers has also been able to both work and learn alongside some of the strongest prospects in the game with the Baysox, and he said the competition continues to motivate him each day.
“I think the exciting part about getting called up was that type of leveling up in competition and seeing where you stack against really top competition, and I think any guy would tell you that it’ll fire them up,” Stowers said. “And so far it’s gotten more out of me, and hopefully I’ll continue to carry that with me as I go and have that same kind of mindset trying to prove myself and then also have fun playing the game.”
And that competition and mindset have paid off.
Entering play July 29, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Stowers has hit .316/.418/.588 while posting seven home runs, 17 RBIs and 10 doubles across 32 games and 114 at-bats while in Bowie.
The California native hit .275/.404/.496 with seven home runs, 32 RBIs and six doubles across 36 games and 131 at-bats while in Aberdeen.
Stowers played for Stanford University from 2017-2019 and finished his college career having batted .279/.360/.490 with 20 home runs, 85 RBIs and 30 doubles. Stowers’ solid level of play earned him the recognition of 2018 and 2019 All-Pac-12 honorable mention and 2018 and 2019 Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention. He also made the 2019 Stanford Regional All-Tournament team and the 2019 Baseball America preseason first-team All-America squad.
Selected by the Orioles with the 71st overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, Stowers feels confident that his new environment will allow him to make improvements to his game. He said he will continue to do whatever it takes to be a constant presence in the lineup and be there for his teammates, adding that he would even rather rob a home run than hit one.
“When you rob a home run, you help a pitcher out too. You get the shared joy of making a big play and also helping out a pitcher,” Stowers said.
The outfielder attributes his success and the team’s success in part to Baysox catcher Adley Rutschman, calling him the “hardest working guy in the room” and someone who pushes each player to be the best version of themselves. Stowers said he admires Rutschman’s “steadiness,” as he’s able to remain calm and hide his frustration and difficulties.
“He’s definitely a high-energy guy, which is very contagious,” Stowers said of Rutschman. “He loves being at the field, and I know the meeting with the pitcher is something he’s done for a while — picking them up after every inning — and then something picking the bat up from the previous hitter kind just kind of goes to show you above anything, he’s definitely a high-energy guy and so fun to be around.”
Stowers holds himself to high standards and expectations, but for now, he is just focused on his game and looking for ways that will eventually lead him to the Orioles, while trying not to look too far ahead.
“You’ve got to find a way to stay in the moment, somehow. [I’m] definitely excited to know there’s a potential opportunity down the road, but I try not too much to let that affect what I am just because I want to continue to hold myself to a high standard and be the best player I can be,” Stowers said.
For more from Stowers, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: William Vaughan/Bowie Baysox