Orioles outfield prospect Colton Cowser, now with Low-A Delmarva a little more than a month removed from being drafted by the Orioles, says he’s prepared to handle the expectations that come with being the No. 5 overall pick for a team in the midst of a massive rebuilding project.
Cowser hit .354/.460/.608 with 24 home runs and 112 RBIs at Sam Houston State from 2019-2021. He made his pro debut earlier this summer in the Florida Complex League, posting 11 hits — four for extra bases — in 22 at-bats before being promoted to Delmarva. He is hitting .261/.419/.391 in six games for the Shorebirds entering play Aug. 25.
Cowser debuted at No. 83 on MLB Pipeline’s new top-100 list. (Four other Orioles made the list: Adley Rutschman, Grayson Rodriguez, D.L. Hall and Gunnar Henderson.) Cowser is now a central piece to the Orioles’ rebuild, and he’s ready for that responsibility.
“Throughout your baseball career, you’ll always have people not breathing down your neck, but there’s always expectations,” Cowser said on Glenn Clark Radio Aug. 20. “I usually try to not worry about them and just go about my business and the rest will kind of take care of itself. Just worry about what I can control. That’s gotten me here so far.”
Cowser was promoted from the FCL to Delmarva along with a bunch of other 2021 draft picks — infielders Collin Burnes, Connor Norby and Jacob Teter; outfielders Billy Cook, John Rhodes, Reed Trimble and Donta’ Williams, and pitchers Carlos Tavera, Conor Grady and Peter Van Loon. Infielder Coby Mayo, the Orioles’ fourth-round pick in 2020, was promoted to Delmarva at the same time.
Cowser said he enjoyed getting to know all the 2021 draft picks in Sarasota, Fla., after they all signed their pro contracts.
“It was good to get to know everyone and figure out where everyone’s from and what everyone’s capable of,” Cowser said. “It was fun to get to know them down there and then make the trip up there. I feel like we have a good group of guys. We get along very well.”
Cowser is also looking forward to eventually playing alongside Heston Kjerstad, the Orioles’ top pick in 2020. Kjerstad has been sidelined since last year due to a serious bout with myocarditis. Cowser played with Kjerstad on USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team during the summer of 2019. Cowser said he chatted with Kjerstad after being drafted by the Orioles this summer and that the two have a good relationship.
Cowser played on the CNT as a rising sophomore, making him one of the young guys on the team. The other stars on the team — like Kjerstad, Spencer Torkelson and Austin Martin — were rising juniors.
“Last year when I was watching the draft, I was playing with a lot of those guys,” Cowser said. “Torkelson was picked No. 1, Kjerstad was No. 2. I hit between those guys. That was kind of when it hit me and I was able to realize maybe I could make a living out of this.”
Cowser touched on some other topics as well, including …
On the sports he played growing up in addition to baseball:
“I grew up playing three sports. I played baseball, basketball and football. As I got older, I felt like baseball was kind of the sport that I’d be able to succeed the most in. In high school, I quit football my sophomore year and then I didn’t really play basketball through my middle school days just because I was always fouling out and always on the ground. I ended up sticking with baseball. Once I started playing that, I felt like when I put all my time and effort into it, I felt like I could make something of it. I’ve been very blessed and fortunate. My parents were very supportive with that. We just hit the ground running and started playing baseball full time.”
On why he chose to attend Sam Houston State out of high school:
“I think whenever I was making the decision coming out of high school, the main focus and logic behind it was I want to go somewhere where I could play and develop and just see what happens after that. I didn’t have many looks coming out of high school. Coming from the Houston area, I kind of committed around the time when a lot of the bigger schools were done offering their guys. I had a Sam Houston offer and it’s an hour away from home and my dad went there. It was a really good program and I really liked the coaching staff. I felt like I stayed right at home. My parents were able to come watch. [The draft was not in my mind] at the time, whenever I chose to commit to Sam. I’m really blessed and fortunate and grateful that ended up happening the way it did.”
On what he’s focusing on improving now:
“I think baseball’s one of those sports where you can always improve in pretty much every aspect of the game, whether it’s just becoming more consistent or working on your intangibles when it comes to hitting — bat speed, bat path, things like that. Those are things that I think will continue to take my game to the next level and those are things that I’m excited to keep working on with a lot of the Orioles’ developmental side [and what] they have to offer. That’s something I’m really looking forward to doing in the offseason and even throughout the season as well. Definitely getting bigger, faster and stronger as well.”
For more from Cowser, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Joey Gardner