The Baltimore Orioles today announced that they have signed their first selection, fifth overall, of the 2021 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, OF Colton Cowser, from Sam Houston State University (TX).
Cowser, 21, was named the Southland Conference Player of the Year during his junior season in 2021, becoming the second player in Sam Houston history to earn the honor. He earned All-SLC First Team, SLC All-Defensive Team, and SLC All-Tournament team honors, leading Sam Houston to the SLC title game. Cowser became the first Bearkat in program history to be named a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award, in addition to being named to the preseason All-SLC First Team, Baseball America preseason All-American First Team, Perfect Game preseason All-American Second Team, and Bobby Bragan Collegiate Slugger Award preseason watch list. As a sophomore in 2020, Cowser started all 14 games for Sam Houston State, hitting safely in his first eight games before the cancelation of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a true freshman in 2019, Cowser was named the Southland Conference Hitter of the Year and an All-SLC First Team Outfielder. He was ranked as the No. 10 overall draft prospect by MLB.com and the No. 11 prospect by Baseball America.
The 2021 First-Year Player Draft marked the third time in Orioles history that the club held the fifth overall selection in the MLB Draft, after selecting C Matt Wieters fifth overall out of Georgia Tech University in 2007 and RHP Matt Hobgood at No. 5 from Norco (CA) High School in 2009. Cowser was the fifth Bearkat taken by the Orioles all-time in the MLB First-Year Player Draft. He became the highest draft pick in Sam Houston State University history after Glenn Wilson, who was selected by the Detroit Tigers with the No. 18 overall selection in 1980. Cowser also became the highest draft pick in Southland Conference history, surpassing Stephen F. Austin University’s Hunter Dozier, who was taken at No. 8 overall by the Kansas City Royals in 2013. The deadline to sign 2021 draftees is Sunday, August 1.