Orioles' top draft picks enjoy Baltimore visit; Hyde hopes Akin, Santander return next week; Franco off injured list - BaltimoreBaseball.com

2021 MLB Draft

Orioles’ top draft picks enjoy Baltimore visit; Hyde hopes Akin, Santander return next week; Franco off injured list

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

BALTIMORE—Colton Cowser and Connor Norby, the Orioles’ first two draft picks, enjoyed their day in Baltimore and seemed comfortable with their new team.

“I enjoyed lunch with my family, and have been treated with nothing but hospitality,” said Cowser, who was the fifth overall pick from Sam Houston State University.

The outfielder, who signed for a reported $4.9 million, said the signing process moved quickly.

“There were a couple of days where I was decompressing, and then contacted me, and I got up here pretty quickly,” Cowser said.

Cowser and Norby, who’s a second baseman from East Carolina University, have already been to the Orioles’ spring training headquarters at the Ed Smith Stadium complex in Sarasota, Florida. They’ll work out there for a few days, play some games in the Florida Complex League and finish the regular season with Low-A Delmarva.

“You can always improve on everything,” Cowser said. “That’s something I’m looking to do, is improve each tool that I have, and get better at it. Power is something that I’m looking to improve as well.

“That’s how I was raised to play the game, kind of an old-school player, be able to contribute on both sides of the ball. Say you’re not having a good day at the plate and you go out on the field and you take away some [hits]. There are always ways to contribute.”

Norby led the nation in hits with 102 and batted .415 for East Carolina.

“I bring a lot of fire,” Norby said. “I play hard all the time. I can do anything. I consider myself a jack of all trades. I can do everything. I want to be good at everything. There’s a lot of improvement in my game that I want to work on, and that’s what I’m looking forward to most.”


Norby has been a second baseman, but the Orioles move their top prospects around the field.

“I have played third. I have played second. I’m open to playing the outfield,” he said. “I want to play as many positions as I can. I want to be as good at as many positions as I can. I want to be versatile, and that just increases everyone’s value.”

Draft signings: The Orioles announced the signings of outfielder Reed Trimble, who was their competitive balance round pick as well as fifth-round pick, right-handed pitcher Carlos Tavera, catcher Creed Willems (8), infielder Ryan Higgins (9), outfielder Billy Cook (10), right-handed pitcher Dylan Heid (11), right-hander Jacob Armbruester (12), infielder Jacob Teter (13), right-handers Keagan Gillies (15), Peter Van Loon (16) Ryan Long (17), Conor Grady (18) and Alex Pham (19).

According to MLB’s Jim Callis, Willems, the only high school player drafted by the Orioles, signed for $1 million, far above slot value of $187,770.

On Friday night, the Orioles signed outfielder John Rhodes, their third-round pick. They’ve now signed  17 of their 21 draft picks. The unsigned are infielder Collin Burns (6), catcher Connor Pavolony (7), right-handed pitcher Daniel Lloyd (14) and outfielder Trendon Craig (20).

Akin, Santander in protocol: Left-hander Keegan Akin and outfielder Anthony Santander remain in Covid-19 protocol and manager Brandon Hyde said that he hoped that they returned by the middle of next week. The players did not remain in St. Petersburg, Florida, Hyde said. No other players are affected.

Notes: Maikel Franco, who was on the injured list because of a sprained right ankle, was reinstated and is in the lineup for Friday night’s game against the Nationals. … Hyde hopes that infielder Freddy Galvis (quadriceps) will be back at the end of next week and left-hander Bruce Zimmermann (biceps tendinitis) can return by the middle of August.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. Eastern Sho Joe

    July 23, 2021 at 7:06 pm

    Norby’s statement came off as a little arrogant to me, though I haven’t seen or read the actual interview so I may be taking it out of context.

    But arrogant or not, I hope he is ‘fire.’

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      July 23, 2021 at 7:45 pm

      Most the great ones are cocky as all get out. Hopefully Norby’s talent level is on par with his cockiness.

      • Eastern Sho Joe

        July 23, 2021 at 9:49 pm

        100% with you on this.

        On another note, anyone else thinking that Valaika may have gotten into CDs Adderall stash? lol

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          July 24, 2021 at 10:34 am

          I’m thinking Valaika doesn’t want anything to do with the city of Norfolk with Galvis due back soon.

  2. TxBirdFan

    July 23, 2021 at 7:07 pm

    Franco was slow BEFORE he injured his ankle. I’m not one of his fans and suspect he’ll be even slower on the base paths now, if that’s possible.

  3. Bhoffman1

    July 23, 2021 at 8:28 pm

    I see the O’s started Jannis tonight in Norfolk. Now how does that help our rebuilding and farm system.Of course he’s getting smothered. Also Ray’s sign Cruz. I guess they are only on for half of his 13 mil salary. Still it’s nice to see. Maybe after we pay the stiff another 16 mil and are done we can spend a little cash. Obviously these comments have nothing to do with the post for that I apologize

  4. CalsPals

    July 23, 2021 at 8:33 pm

    Hyde takes Lopez out AGAIN in the 4th with two outs, he doesn’t friggin get it, still disappointed that Lopez doesn’t argue to stay in, Palmer couldn’t believe it…go O’s…

    • CalsPals

      July 23, 2021 at 8:36 pm

      Part of the plan, Fry comes in, one pitch, in line for the win & maybe more value in a trade …Hyde has NO idea how to manage his pitchers…go O’s…

      • Tileman

        July 24, 2021 at 9:46 am

        Exactly, pump up Frys stats to look good for draft capital, to hell with what the players think.

    • ClayDal

      July 23, 2021 at 8:52 pm

      Fry just struck out the side. So the strategy worked

    • CalsPals

      July 23, 2021 at 8:57 pm

      Guess you didn’t get it, let Lopez see one more batter, get through the dreaded 5th, Fry STILL could’ve pitched the whole 6th, striking out the side & your pitching staff feels better about themselves, now Lopez is gonna keep thinking I’m a 4.2 inning pitcher, because Hyde doesn’t let him get to the 5th, not like the O’s are playing to win every game, perfect opportunity to give Lopez a shot of confidence…go O’s…

    • ClayDal

      July 23, 2021 at 10:14 pm

      It was a good matchup Fry vs Soto. Lopez has trouble the third time through the lineup. That’s his track record. If Soto gets a hit there it’s a tie game and he doesn’t get the win anyway. But in today’s baseball, pitchers getting credit for the win is overrated . DeGrom won back to back Cy Youngs winning 10 and 11 games. That was unheard of in Palmer’s day

  5. Birdman

    July 23, 2021 at 9:11 pm

    Why trade Fry, when he has 3+ years of team control left? Aren’t the Orioles planning on fielding a playoff contender before 2025?

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      July 24, 2021 at 10:36 am

      2025 sounds about right.

  6. Nellie

    July 23, 2021 at 9:22 pm

    I thought we were supposed to be tanking, CP?

    • CalsPals

      July 24, 2021 at 7:05 am

      You’ve not heard me say that, I just agreed, go away Nellie girl…whoa…go O’s…

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      July 24, 2021 at 10:37 am

      Nobody is supposed to be tanking. But they have been for 3 years.

  7. Buzz1979

    July 23, 2021 at 10:36 pm

    These injury stints always seem to last a lot more than the 10 days. Zimmerman was supposed to be 10 days, now it’s 2 months!

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