Kyle Stowers talks about his development on the O's farm

It was Wednesday afternoon in St. Louis and in the ninth inning, down 5-3, the Orioles were trying to avoid being swept three in a row, something that had not happened in the regular season since May 13-15, 2022 at Detroit.

Kyle Stowers came up as pinch-hitter with runners at first and third and no outs. He lined a 1-0 cutter to deep right. Off the bat it looked like it might be a three-run homer for the lead, or at least get over the right fielder’s head and tie the game. But Lars Nootbaar ran back and made a great catch. Then Cedric Mullins was doubled off first base. We saw a rare sac fly/double play in which Stowers got an RBI but no at-bat. The Orioles got a run, but they lost 5-4 and indeed were swept.

But it was one of a few good swings that Stowers had had in recent days, and those swings might have told us a day like he had yesterday was coming.

Starting in right field and batting seventh against the Red Sox, he went 3-for-4 with four RBIs in the O’s 11-3 win. He is back in the lineup tonight as the designated hitter.

Stowers is 4-for-8 his past two games and is 6-for-16 (.375) with five RBIs in nine games since his latest call-up to the majors. Stowers had two doubles yesterday and set a career high for extra-base hits and RBIs and tied his career best with the three hits.

In a crowded O’s outfield, Stowers, the club's third draft pick in 2019 following Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson, hopes that this is his time. He has played in 221 games at Triple-A Norfolk over parts of the last four years, getting 948 plate appearances, hitting 50 homers and compiling an .866 OPS.

Stowers was a good player, of course, when the Orioles drafted him, but said he has improved in numerous ways on the O’s watch.

“Go back to (when I was at) earlier levels," he said. "You know, the simple concept of swing at the right pitches. Having a better understanding of the situations you are in. Pitches and shapes and how you can have the best opportunity to have success and then capitalize on those.

“Now that I have gone to the big leagues and bounced up and down, I think the thing that stands out is the quality of players that have been drafted (by the Orioles). You have to be on your A-game. So many good players here in the big leagues, and also at Triple-A. You go down our system and Double-A has good players too. It forces you to be on top of your game to stay above water.”

Now he is back in the big leagues, where he has played in 57 career games, batting .226 with three homers, 16 RBIs and a .635 OPS.

“I feel ready,” he told me Saturday in Chicago. “I feel ready to help this team. I feel confident in my ability. At this point you have to go play and play hard. I control my controllables. Play hard, have a good plan and whatever happens is what happens. But I know that I believe in myself and I feel that I’m ready. Just happy to be here to help this team.”

Manager Brandon Hyde was asked today about how he decides on playing time for the young outfielders - and young players generally - when they make their way onto the O’s roster.

“Well, I’m trying to play everybody,” Hyde said. “And I’ve got a bunch of really good players, and some guys are going through some tough times right now and are trying to find it that have done good things here in the past. I’m trying to get them going, honestly, too, for a lot of different reasons.

“But I’m also trying to give young guys a chance and give them the best matchups that I can as well. Trying to win as well. You know, most nights, like I said last year, I have 13 guys I want to play. It makes our bench deep, and when somebody doesn’t start the game that doesn’t mean they are not going to finish it. Couple of situations in Chicago it really set me to have some really good pinch-hitters in some big spots when the game mattered the most and it helped us out.

“Like Mounty (Ryan Mountcastle) is on the bench tonight. He’s a really good player and tough to keep out of the lineup. But he’s going to be ready when I need him in, maybe the biggest spot in the game. It’s a good team problem to have."

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