Orioles 2021 #4 Prospect Colton Cowser – OF

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The Orioles 1st round pick (#5 overall) in the 2021 draft come in as the #4 overall prospect after being an on base machine in his professional debut.

Colton Cowser
Pos: Outfielder
Bats: L
Throws: R
Age (as of Jun 30th) : 21
2021 Level: FCL/A-

Tools (current/future value)
Hit: 40/70
Game Power: 30/50
Raw Power: 45/50
Run: 60/55
Defense: 50/50

SeasonTeamLevelAgeHRBB%K%AVGOBPSLGOPSISOLD%GB%FB%wOBAwRC+
2021BALCPX21112.00%16.00%.500.560.7731.333.27323.5%41.2%35.3%.599246
2021BALA21117.70%15.30%.347.476.429.904.08236.7%41.8%21.5%.435158

Most Likely Future Role: Starting corner outfielder
Ceiling: Starting center fielder, Occasional All-Star

What we know: Drafted by the Orioles with the 5th overall pick in the 2021 draft, he signed for an underslot ($4.9 million vs $6,180,700) bonus allowing the Orioles to go overslot for 4th round back outfielder John Rhodes and 8th round pick catcher Creed Willem to overslot deals. Cowser is a left-handed swinging, tall, lanky outfielder who showed an advanced feel to hit linedrives to all fields (41.3% pull vs 41.3% oppo), putting up an organizational high 36.7% line drive rate in Delmarva. Got on base at an other worldly .490 clip between the Florida Complex League and Delmarva and reached base safely in 23 of 25 games in Delmarva. When drafted, the knock on Cowser by some scouts was that he would not hit for enough power despite the 17 home runs he hit in Sam Houston State in his junior year. Sure enough, Cowser’s .082 ISO and 21.5 % flyball rate at Delmarva was not very impressive and Cowser’s line drive approach to hitting doesn’t appear to suggest he will add much power without some swing adjustments that will help him lift the ball more. Saying that, Cowser does have a good frame and if he adds muscle, there’s nothing that doesn’t suggest some of those linedrives won’t turn into homeruns. Cowser has an advanced feel for the strike zone as well and did not have a ton of miss in his swing.

Defensively Cowser runs well on the go, but his first step quickness is not great and he did let some balls fall in front of him that a good major league center fielder would be expected to catch. At 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds already, it’s doubtful he will be able to play anything more than a merely adequate centerfield suggesting a love to Camden Yards’s spacious left field might be a better fit. He throws well enough to play all three outfield positions though he would not have a plus right field arm.

What we don’t know: Will he add the power that today’s game requires in a corner outfielder and will his walk rate stay high if advanced pitchers don’t fear his power? Can he hit upper level offspeed pitches and advance velocity? Can he stick in center field or does he fit better in a corner outfield position.

What we think: Cowser is an advance college bat that should move quickly through the minor leagues. It’s not out of the question that he gets the Rutschman treatment and starts in Double-A next year while ending the year in AAA. Cowser’s hit tool is his calling card and he should hit for average and get on base at an above average rate. If he develops more power, he goes from an upper Division regular starter to an occasional All-star. If you are looking for a comp, Nick Markakis comes to mind, but Cowser runs better than Markakis and Markakis had a better arm.

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Tony has owned and operated Orioles Hangout since 1996 and is well known for his knowledge of the Baltimore Orioles organization from top to bottom. He's a frequent guest on Baltimore-area sports radio stations and can be heard regularly on the 105.7 FM The Fan. His knowledge and contacts within the Orioles minor league system and the major league baseball scouting industry is unparalleled in the Baltimore media and is known as an expert on the Orioles prospects.