It took an unusual situation for outfielder Kyle Stowers to make his major league debut against the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday. MLB Pipeline has Stowers rated eighth and Baseball America ninth among Orioles’ prospects.
He’s the ninth Oriole to make his debut this season, and the third high-ranking prospect. Adley Rutschman, and Monday night’s starting pitcher, Kyle Bradish, were the others.
Stowers got his opportunity because Anthony Santander has refused to get a Covid 19 vaccination, and players without the vaccine are prohibited from playing in Canada.
The Orioles are able to use Stowers as a substitute player, a temporary replacement for players on the restricted list. Pitcher Rico Garcia, who pitched for the Orioles for the first time in Monday’s game, also has that designation. He’s replacing Keegan Akin, who’s also on the restricted list.
Stowers was 1-for-3 in the Orioles’ 11-1 loss to the Blue Jays. He doubled and drove in Rutschman in the seventh inning and was hit by a pitch in the ninth.
While Stowers hasn’t had the publicity that Rutschman, and pitchers Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall have had, he’s put up solid minor league numbers.
In 2019, Stowers was the third selection of the Orioles behind Rutschman and infielder Gunnar Henderson, who was promoted to Triple-A Norfolk last week. Stowers was selected 71st overall in the competitive-balance round.
Stowers, who went to Stanford, played against Rutschman when he was at Oregon State, and he was a teammate of his in Aberdeen, Bowie and Norfolk.
Last season, Stowers and Rutschman shared the organization’s minor league player of the year award.
Stowers played at three levels last year, beginning the season with the IronBirds at High-A, moving on to the Baysox, and finally to the Tides.
He hit .278 with a .383 on-base percentage and .898 OPS. Stowers hit 27 home runs and drove in 85 runs at the three levels.
This year, Stowers is batting .253 with a .356 OBP and .901 OPS at Norfolk. He has hit 12 home runs and has 34 RBIs.
Stowers has sstruck out 171 times in 124 games and has 53 in 49 games this year.
It was thought that Stowers’ opportunity would come if the Orioles made a trade of one of their outfielders or designated hitters, but Santander’s status made the four-game trial tempting.
The Orioles have become more aggressive in promoting their younger players, and it will be interesting to see if they keep Stowers in the majors or send him back to Norfolk after the series to make sure he plays regularly.
There is no penalty for using Stowers. He’s not on the 40-man roster and can be returned to the minor leagues without an option.
Even if he doesn’t stay beyond Thursday, Stowers is likely to get an extended trial in the coming weeks.
The Orioles will have to add a position player to the roster next week. They have 14 pitchers, and after Sunday’s game won’t be able to keep more than 13. Perhaps Stowers will be that player.
Wipeout: Starting pitcher Kyle Bradish (1-4) allowed five runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. Logan Gillaspie relieved Bradish and gave up four runs on five hits while retiring just one batter.
Toronto scored seven runs in the fifth, the most the Orioles had allowed in any inning this season.
Austin Voth gave up a run on three hits in 1 1/3 innings and Garcia gave up a home run to Vladimir Guerrero Jr., his 15th.
The Orioles (26-36) allowed 19 hits to the Blue Jays (36-24), the most they’ve given up this season.
Toronto starter Alek Manoah (8-1) allowed one hit in six scoreless innings.
The Orioles lost their seventh straight game against the Blue Jays. They lost their last six in 2021. This was the first meeting this season. Toronto was supposed to play a season-opening series in Baltimore, but it had to be rescheduled because of the Major League Baseball lockout. It will be played October 3rd-5th.
Notes: High-A Aberdeen right-hander Carlos Tavera was named the South Atlantic Pitcher of the Week for the week of June 6th-12th. … Jordan Lyles (3-5, 4.97) will face Yusei Kikuchi (2-2, 4.44) on Tuesday night. … The Orioles released minor league right-handers Ofelky Peralta, David Lebron, Kyle Martin, infielder Leonel Sanchez and outfielder Josue Cruz. Peralta had been with the organization since 2014 and was invited to major league spring training this year. He was 1-2 with a 10.34 ERA in nine games for Triple-A Norfolk this season. … The Orioles have used 48 players this season.