He may have gotten off to a slow start with Triple-A Norfolk - he was 3-for-31 there through Wednesday - but O’s 2021 top draft pick Colton Cowser had a heckuva run during his 49-game stint at Double-A Bowie before the outfielder moved up.
To say the least Bowie manager Kyle Moore was impressed with Cowser and his entire game after he joined the Baysox June 28 and had three hits and a homer in his first game.
Before he left recently with his promotion to Norfolk, Cowser hit a walk-off, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to provide a Baysox win on his way out the door. That happened Aug. 28 – exactly two months after his first game with Bowie.
“It was special,” Moore said of Cowser’s play with the Baysox. “He completely dominated offensively. You can look at any number you want, and it was super impressive. Almost to the point where you can compare him with Gunnar Henderson when he was here. They are actually very similar through about the same number of at-bats, so that just tells you how good Cowser was here. Because Gunnar did the same thing. They both dominated this league.’
And Moore has a real point there.
Henderson played 52 games with 225 plate appearances at Bowie at the very end of last year and this season and Cowser played 49 with 224 plate appearances for the Baysox. So, a comparison is pretty valid as both got about the same number of chances at that level. Here is how they stack up.
* Henderson at Bowie: 302/.440/.547/.987 with 12 doubles, three triples, eight homers, 35 RBIs.
* Cowser at Bowie: .341/.469/.568/1.037 with 10 doubles, 10 homers, 33 RBIs.
Henderson controlled the strike zone a bit better at Bowie with 43 walks to 48 strikeouts. Cowser walked 36 times with 57 strikeouts with the Baysox.
“He also played really good defense here,” said Moore. “So, it was easy to write him into the one or two spot every day. He finished his Double-A tour with a walk-off, two-run homer to beat Altoona. He had no idea he was leaving us, we told him after that game. There was a big celebration and that was a perfect way for him to go out. Joey (Ortiz) too.
“All the way up to that last at-bat you could tell with our opponents. If they walked the No. 9 hitter to get to Cowser, they were worried, and their dugout was panicking. And that is how everyone was. They did whatever they could to not face him in big spots. He looked like a complete hitter here.”
Cowser, the No. 5 overall MLB Draft pick in 2021, has now played at three levels this season as he began this year with High A Aberdeen. He produced a .795 OPS with the IronBirds and then really got his bat locked in with Bowie. Did he make any tweaks or changes to make that happen?
“I don’t think so. We let him be him and he was always good here. He started hot, was hot during the middle of his stay. Played really good defense and we played him almost every day. Just like the total package. Probably the biggest tool I didn’t know he carried as well is the run tool. Guy can really, really run. He doesn’t look like he is moving that fast, because his strides are so long. But there were times in center field he showed elite range,” said Moore.
While Henderson is ranked currently as the No. 1 prospect in the sport by Baseball America and No. 2 by MLBPipe.com, Cowser is also top 100, ranked No. 91 by BA and No. 43 by MLBPipeline.com.
O’s minor league OPS leaders, min 200 at-bats:
.946 – Gunnar Henderson
.884 – Kyle Stowers
.877 – Colton Cowser
.870 – Terrin Vavra
.849 – Connor Norby
Another challenge for the offense: The Orioles offense got a challenge from Toronto's Alek Manoah and lost it on Wednesday night. They get another one tonight from a pitcher with poor MLB stats, but a strong overall pro pitching resume.
When they open a series with Boston at home tonight, they face Red Sox rookie right-hander Brayan Bello (1-4, 5.91 ERA) who will be making his seventh MLB start. And he has a WHIP of 1.813 and that is indeed not good at all.
Yet this Dominican-born pitcher is a top 100 prospect, ranked No. 21 by Baseball America and No. 37 by MLBPipeline.com. In a Baseball America survey just released, he was voted as the International League's top pitching prospect. And this year between Double-A and Triple-A, he is 10-4 with a 2.34 ERA and 12.1 strikeout rate. His fastball touched 97 mph in his last start last Saturday when he threw six scoreless innings versus Texas.
Clemente nominee: Orioles reliever Dillon Tate is the team's nominee for the 2022 Roberto Clemente Award.
The most prominent individual player award bestowed by MLB, the Clemente Award is the annual recognition of a player from each club who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, sportsmanship, community involvement, philanthropy, and positive contributions, both on and off the field.
As part of this nomination and in recognition of Tate’s exemplary commitment to serving his community, MLB will make a $7,500 donation to his foundation, Baseball Academia Corp. The Orioles Charitable Foundation will match the donation, for a total of $15,000 contributed. The Orioles will recognize Tate in a special on-field ceremony on Monday, Sept. 19, as they host Detroit.
This year, Tate launched his foundation, Baseball Academia, where he aims to teach children and young athletes lessons on personal development and how to improve skills on and off the field. Through his foundation, he has hosted nearly 150 athletes at the ballpark throughout the 2022 season, with more events still to come.
Congrats to Tate and here is the O's Twitter showing how Tate found out he was nominated.