Orioles sign top draft pick Colton Cowser - BaltimoreBaseball.com


Orioles sign top draft pick Colton Cowser

Colton Cowser
Photo credit: Baltimore Orioles

Colton Cowser, the Orioles’ top draft pick who said it was a dream come true to be selected by Baltimore, signed his rookie contract with the team on Saturday.

The approximate pick value for Cowser, a power-hitting outfielder from Sam Houston State, is $6.18 million, according to Major League Baseball. However, Jon Heyman, of the MLB Network, reported that Cowser signed for $4.9 million, a significant underslot for Orioles general manager Mike Elias.

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said Saturday that it was important for draft picks such as Cowser to start their professional career as soon as possible.

“That’s great that we got him signed up and joined the organization,” Hyde said. “Congratulations to him and to Mike (Elias) and the rest of our front office, scouting department for the pick and the draft and getting him signed right away. I think it’s fantastic. Get the guy in our organization, get him with our coaches and our player development staff to get guys moving and get guys started on their development.

“So, it’s very important to get first-round picks signed, and it’s even better when you get them signed right away. I’m excited to see what he can do.”

The Orioles have high hopes for Cowser after selecting him with the fifth overall selection in the draft.

“With Colton Cowser, with him being a middle-of-the-diamond player, he’s going to be able to play all three outfield spots and his bat is going to profile at all three outfield spots,” Elias said. “So when he joins this team, hopefully in the next couple of years if all goes well, we’re going to have some options there.”

Cowser, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound centerfielder, hit .354 with 24 home runs and a 1.068 OPS from the left side of the plate in three seasons at Sam Houston State. Cowser was rated the No. 7 draft prospect by FanGraphs, No. 10 by ESPN and MLB.com, and No. 11 by Baseball America.

This past season as a junior, Cowser, 21, was named the Southland Conference Player of the Year, becoming the second player in Sam Houston history to earn the honor. He also earned All-SLC First Team, SLC All-Defensive Team, and SLC All-Tournament team honors, leading Sam Houston to the SLC title game. Cowser became the first player in program history to be named a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award.


“It’s a dream come true,” Cowser said about being drafted by the Orioles. “I’ve dreamed about this and my family’s invested a lot into me. You know they’ve sacrificed all the time. Just to be able to spend it with friends and family means the world to me.”

Cowser is considered a natural centerfielder and that’s where he is likely to begin playing in the minors. The Orioles have Cedric Mullins in center field, and he is having a breakout year, earning a spot on the American League All-Star team.

Elias is confident there will be a spot for Cowser on the big-league club over the next couple of years.

“Obviously, we have a really good centerfielder on the team right now, but the beauty of that position and any up-the-middle position is you can slide around if needed, and you can’t have too many centerfielders,” Elias said. “He’s a great defensive player in all three outfield spots, but he can play center and that’s a big part of his skill set.”

Harvey gets start: Matt Harvey (3-10, 7.70 ERA) will start the series finale against the Royals on Sunday. Harvey is looking to snap an eight-game losing streak. He has not won since May 1st at Oakland. The Royals will start Carlos Hernández (1-0, 4.98 ERA).

Means back in rotation: Hyde expects John Means (4-2, 2.28 ERA) to start Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Rays. Means has not pitched for the Orioles since June 5th when he was forced to leave against the Cleveland Indians because of a strained left shoulder. Means pitched three rehab games for High-A Aberdeen, Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk, going a combined 0-1 with a 5.63 ERA in eight innings.

Spenser Watkins (1-0, 1.74 ERA) will start the series opener Monday at Tropicana Field.



  1. CalsPals

    July 17, 2021 at 6:43 pm

    Sounds like Means rehab assignments went well, he should fit right in…go O’s…

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    July 17, 2021 at 7:01 pm

    Sam Houston State, located in the Fun Capital of the Lone Star State! Light’em up boys! Don’t mess with Texas.

  3. ptjhu

    July 17, 2021 at 7:08 pm

    Last year, I wanted dem O’s to take 2B Nick Gonzales with the second pick. This year I couldn’t believe SS Jordan Lawlar was still available when Baltimore picked. Here’s hoping Mike Elias is as smart as we’re all hoping him to be. Here’s an updated Farm System ranking from Bleacher Report: https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2945855-updated-mlb-farm-system-rankings-after-2021-mlb-draft

    • CalsPals

      July 18, 2021 at 7:53 am

      Interesting article, doesn’t seem like they feel the O’s draft was that productive, all I’ve heard about is how impressive the O’s minor leagues are now, seems they dropped from 5th to 10th, saw a lot of players they could’ve drafted rated as 1’s in positions we need on other teams, seems Mikey has a strategy to fill the minors but not have better players for the majors, I’d rather have quality than quantity, I think he forgets about the Orioles while TRYING to fill out the minor league rosters with “better/cheaper” players…oh well…go O’s…

    • Tileman

      July 18, 2021 at 9:04 am

      Thanks for the link PT, it’s incredible how the Rays are #1 again in signing AND developing the best talent. What are they doing differently and are their minor league coaches all long termers with the Rays. We need to poach a coach or two

  4. dlgruber1

    July 17, 2021 at 10:26 pm

    Spenser Watkins (1-0, 1.74 ERA) will start the series opener Monday at Tropicana Field.
    Is it just me or does that look SO out of place for an O’s pitcher?

  5. dlgruber1

    July 17, 2021 at 10:31 pm

    With the O’s record being what it is and in particular Lopez record, couldn’t Hyde have left him in for maybe 2 more batters to get the last out he needed and be eligible for the win? 80 pitches is a bit high for 4.2 innings but geez, c’mon.

    • CalsPals

      July 18, 2021 at 7:46 am

      C’mon DL, O’s pitchers aren’t allowed to go 5 innings, lol, I mentioned this a few days ago, I watched the Yankees pitcher argue with his manager to FINISH the game, a 1-0 game no less, Lopez should’ve said he wanted to finish THE 5TH for crying out loud, other side of the coin, it was only the 5th, he shouldn’t have had to tell Hyde he wanted to finish it, WTF are they teaching their players, Hyde has a lot to learn yet, he doesn’t get it…go O’s…

    • Icterus fan

      July 18, 2021 at 12:45 pm

      I usually don’t want to waste the mental energy with regard to the ongoing “why did he yank ‘em early” debate.
      I’m no pitching coach or master strategist.
      However, for the life of me, I just CANNOT understand why Hyde did not let Lopez falter a bit and break through into the netherworld of the 5th inning yesterday. He needed to get ONE out in order to finally break into the 5th inning at only 80 pitches, if I’m not mistaken.
      Stop with the Romper Room approach. The kid has a great arm. Let him figure it out, especially with a solid lead.

  6. Buzz1979

    July 17, 2021 at 10:43 pm

    So will Cowser be a better MLB player than Stewart?!

    • Bmore

      July 19, 2021 at 7:54 am

      It doesn’t matter on their draft even if they draft quality talent we all know once they become eligible for free agency they will walk or they will be traded away for other minor-league talent

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