NEW YORK – Colton Cowser finally got the phone call.
The organization’s No. 2 prospect is joining the Orioles in New York, according to a source. The club is expected to select his contract from Triple-A Norfolk.
Space must be cleared on the 40-man roster, and the Orioles could make other moves prior to Wednesday night’s game against the Yankees.
They’re carrying three catchers, which always is a temporary arrangement. And they might want to bring up a pitcher, with only 12 on the active roster.
What’s certain is that Cowser, ranked No. 14 among baseball’s prospects by MLB Pipeline, is in position to make his major league debut.
Cowser wasn’t in Norfolk’s lineup tonight. He’s batting .330/.459/.537 with 10 doubles, a triple, 10 home runs, 40 RBIs and 48 walks in 56 games.
The Orioles selected Cowser fifth-overall in 2021 out of Sam Houston State. He’s accumulated 381 plate appearance at Triple-A in two seasons, slashing .292/.420/.500 in 83 games.
Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said recently in a MASN interview that Cowser had nothing left to prove and was just waiting on a call.
He got it.
Cowser’s arrival coincides with a difficult stretch of the season, with the Orioles losing six of their last seven games.
They scored three runs in the three-game series against the Twins in the final homestand before the All-Star break, rallying Sunday to avoid their first sweep since May 2022, and have lost twice to the Yankees.
The Rays lost their third game in a row today to keep the Orioles six back for the division lead, but the Yankees have moved within two of second place.
The skid hasn’t wiped out the excitement over the talent pipeline’s flooding of the major league roster.
Infielder Jordan Westburg earned his promotion on June 26, allowing him to join former No. 1 prospect Gunnar Henderson and catcher Adley Rutschman, the first-overall selection in the 2019 draft. Rutschman was named to the American League All-Star team and will participate in the Home Run Derby.
The Orioles have eight players in MLB Pipeline’s top 100, with Single-A Delmarva catcher Samuel Basallo added today.
Shortstop Jackson Holliday, the first-overall selection in last year’s draft, is No. 1 overall. Cowser is 14th, Westburg 32nd, outfielder Heston Kjerstad 38th, shortstop Joey Ortiz 65th, infielder Connor Norby 68th and third baseman Coby Mayo 77th.
Easy to see why the Orioles are regarded as having the No. 1 system in baseball.
Cowser is the latest to reach the majors, but he may not be the last in 2023. Kjerstad, the second-overall pick in 2020, and Norby also are possibilities.
Ortiz has been up and down this season. Pitcher Grayson Rodriguez, a first-rounder in 2018, is working his way back to the Orioles after another assignment to Norfolk.
Rodriguez started tonight and shut out Durham on three hits, no walks and 12 strikeouts in six innings.