Small adjustments have gone a long way for Triple-A Norfolk outfielder Kyle Stowers.
Stowers made a slight alteration to his stance, where he stands more upright as opposed to being crouched. The result was an impressive power surge.
Stowers, 24, tied a Tides franchise record with a three-home run game on May 22nd against Charlotte. He has 10 homers this season and has connected seven times in the past month. Overall, Stowers is batting .246/.340/.535 with 25 RBIs in 39 games.
“I’m really proud of the way I’ve gone about things this year,” Stowers said in a video conference call. “I feel like I’m just getting more and more steady as an individual and a player. Showing up to the ballpark every single day with the same mentality. I haven’t been too high, haven’t been too low, even during a cold stretch or hot stretch. Really been able to hang my hat on my work ethic and my preparation and it’s made it easy to live with whatever happens in the game.”
Stowers was selected by the Orioles in the competitive balance round (No. 71 overall) in the 2019 draft. He is the Orioles’ No. 8 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com, and Baseball America ranks him ninth overall.
“[I’ve] kind of been feeling confident all year,” Stowers said. “I felt like I’d run into some tough luck early and things started to drop a little bit.”
Stowers led all of the Orioles’ minor-league players with 27 homers, 85 RBIs, and 231 total bases last season for High-A Aberdeen, Double-A Bowie and Norfolk. He was also named the Brooks Robinson Minor League Co-Player of the Year with Adley Rutschman.
In recent weeks, the Orioles have shown a willingness to promote players from Norfolk to help the big-league club. In addition to Rutschman, pitchers Cody Sedlock, Nick Vespi and Logan Gillaspie also have gotten an opportunity to show what they can do at the major league level.
“It’s so awesome to see,” Stowers said. “I wish you guys could see in the locker room. You see [Gillaspie] or Vespi warming up and they come in, we’re all glued to the TV watching, all fired up in the clubhouse. Super close, a tight-knit group, and truly a team. When we see one guy succeed, we are all super happy for them.”
The Orioles have more talent in the pipeline with one of the top farm systems among all MLB clubs.
In addition to Stowers, some of the top minor league outfielders include Colton Cowser, Heston Kjerstad, Hudson Haskin, Braylin Tavera, John Rhodes, Reed Trimble, and Yusniel Diaz.
Still, Stowers roots for all of his teammates and players on the other affiliates to do well. He knows things are going to work out as a major leaguer as long as he continues to produce.
“I truly believe that if I take care of my business and play the best baseball I can play, I’m going to be OK,” Stowers said. “That allows me to truly, truly root for players that I’m in theory competing with, even though for me it doesn’t feel like that.”
Stowers could make his way to the Orioles at some point this season, especially if the team parts ways with some veterans at the trade deadline. If Stowers continues to produce, especially with the home runs, he could get promoted regardless of what the Orioles decide to do.
“You know all I can really do is take things day-by-day,” Stowers. “Keep getting one step closer to the idealized player that I see myself becoming one day and if I get a step closer to that each day, then I’m happy with how the day went.”
Rodriguez shines again: Grayson Rodriguez has continued to make a strong argument for a promotion to the major league club. Rodriguez gave up just two hits with 10 strikeouts in seven scoreless innings in Norfolk’s 5-2 victory over Gwinnett on Friday. He is 5-1 with a 2.32 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in 10 starts for the Tides this season.
More talent for Delmarva: The Shorebirds added outfielder Elio Prado and right-handed pitcher Carter Baumler to their roster this week. Prado was acquired by the Orioles from Boston in 2019 as part of the trade for starter Andrew Cashner. Prado was viewed as the centerpiece of the deal but spent much of this year and all of last year on the injured list after slashing .300/.403/.396 in the Dominican Summer League in 2019.
Baumler was the Orioles’ fifth-round pick in 2020 when the Iowa high schooler was lured away from a commitment to TCU. Baumler had Tommy John surgery before making his professional debut and ranks as the No. 29 prospect in the Orioles’ system per MLB Pipeline.
Bowie ends skid: The Baysox ended their six-game losing streak with a 7-1 victory over Erie SeaWolves on Saturday. Hudson Haskin and Joey Ortiz homered for Bowie. Ryan Watson allowed one run in four innings before turning the game over to the bullpen.
Cameron Bishop did not allow a hit in the fifth and sixth. Easton Lucas allowed just one hit in the seventh and eighth before Nolan Hoffman closed out the game with a perfect ninth. Bowie followed that performance with a 13-2 victory over Erie on Sunday and improved to 16-27. Leftfielder Andrew Daschbach homered and starting pitcher Antonio Velez, who was acquired in the deal that sent relievers Tanner Scott and Cole Sulser to Miami, picked up the win.
Aberdeen continues to roll: The IronBirds improved to 31-12 with a 6-4 victory over the Wilmington Blue Rocks on Sunday. Connor Norby and Darell Hernaiz each had two hits for Aberdeen. Justin Armbruester allowed one run and two hits with six strikeouts in five innings and improved to 2-0.