Outfielder Colton Cowser didn’t waste any time making an impression at Double-A Bowie. Cowser, the fifth overall pick in the 2021 draft, homered in his first at-bat for the Baysox and finished his debut going 3-for-3.
However, that performance was overshadowed by another minor-leaguer — Gunnar Henderson at Triple-A Norfolk.
“I talked to Gunnar [Tuesday night] after he hit for the cycle and I was like, ‘C’mon man, you had to one-up me’ a little bit,” Cowser said. “You know we have a great order right now, what they are doing and what they are preaching. You can tell it is transcending up through levels and it’s very, very exciting.”
In his first week at Bowie, Cowser, 22, hit .385 with a 1.359 OPS with a double and three RBIs in five games. Cowser takes a simple approach, and he thinks it has helped him remain consistent.
“It’s the same game no matter where you are playing,” Cowser said. “The pace is different, the pitching is different and it takes a little time to adjust here and there. But overall, I wasn’t surprised [at my success].”
Cowser is the Orioles’ No. 4 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com. He has been a standout player since he arrived from Sam Houston State, where hit .374/.490/.680 (76-for-203) with 16 home runs, 10 doubles, 2 triples, 61 runs, 52 RBI, and 42 walks in 55 games as a junior in 2021. He was named the Southland Conference Player of the Year.
He made his professional debut last year with the Florida Complex League Orioles before earning a promotion to Low-A Delmarva, where he batted .347/.476/.429 (34-for-98) with 5 doubles, 1 home run, 22 runs scored, 26 RBIs, 4 stolen bases, and 22 walks to 19 strikeouts in 25 games. He also participated in the team’s Fall Instructional League camp at the Ed Smith Stadium complex in Sarasota.
In the first half of this season at High-A Aberdeen, Cowser slashed .258/.385/.410 with a .795 OPS, 19 doubles, 2 triples, 4 homers and 22 RBIs.
“In the beginning of the year, I was taking a lot of pitches and taking a lot of close pitches. Getting called out for strikes and getting down in counts,” Cowser said. “As time went on, I thought maybe I was going to be a little more aggressive on pitches that were borderline and started doing that. Was attacking pitches early on, and it felt like it really started clicking.”
In addition to Cowser, the Orioles also promoted infielders Coby Mayo, the No. 7 prospect per MLB Pipeline, and Connor Norby, ranked No. 10. Those three players are part of an exciting nucleus of young talent in the Orioles organization.
They were ready to roll as soon as Aberdeen manager Roberto Mercado delivered the news of the promotion.
“We all got to get called up together,” Cowser said. “We were in Berto’s office in Aberdeen and he said that we didn’t have quite the offday on Monday. We had to get moving down here. It was really exciting.
“The guys are awesome here. They welcomed us there for sure ,and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the year.”
More on Henderson: Henderson singled, doubled, tripled, and homered and became the first player for Norfolk player to hit for the cycle in 22 years in an 8-2 victory over the Gwinnett Stripers on Tuesday night. Henderson, who turned 21 on Wednesday, has hit five home runs with 16 RBIs in 20 games with Norfolk since being promoted from Double-A Bowie on June 6th.
Zimmermann update: Bruce Zimmermann allowed three runs on eight hits in seven innings as Norfolk beat Gwinnett, 6-3, on Sunday night. Zimmermann (2-0) struck out six without walking a batter.
Yusniel Diaz, Kyle Stowers and Jacob Nottingham homered for the Tides. It was Diaz’s third home run, Stowers’ 15th and Nottingham’s ninth.
Harvey update: Matt Harvey pitched five scoreless innings for Bowie, allowing four hits in the Baysox’s 5-1 win over Richmond. Harvey (2-0), whose major league suspension ends on Thursday, struck out seven without walking a batter.
Justin Armbruester allowed a run on four hits in four innings to earn his second save. Catcher Maverick Handley and rightfielder Zach Watson each hit two-run home runs.
Ramón Urías was hitless in four at-bats in the second game of his rehab assignment. He’s on the 10-day injured list because of a sore left oblique muscle.
Kjerstad’s power: Heston Kjerstad, the second overall pick in the 2020 draft, hit his second homer in a week for Single-A Delmarva in a 9-2 loss to the Fredericksburg Nationals on Friday night. After missing the early part of the season because of an injured hamstring, Kjerstad is batting .444/.520/.635 with 6 doubles and 12 RBIs in 17 games. Kjerstad is a prime candidate to be headed to Aberdeen in the next few weeks.
Denoyer shining: Noah Denoyer, who was signed by the Orioles as an undrafted free agent in 2019, is flashing his potential. After going 4-0 with a 2.40 ERA in five starts at Aberdeen, Denoyer was promoted to Bowie on May 10th. He has also pitched well for the Baysox with a 1.73 ERA in nine games, including one start. Opponents have batted .183 against him. He’s struck out 45 batters and walked just five in 36 1/3 innings for Bowie.