Orioles sign first-round Draft pick Cowser

July 18th, 2021

The Orioles signed first-round Draft pick Colton Cowser on Saturday. The outfielder, selected fifth overall, from Sam Houston State University was named one of the best college hitters in the Draft. His power and speed made him the 10th-ranked overall Draft prospect by MLB Pipeline.

Cowser’s $4.9 million bonus, according to MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis, is under slot value for the fifth overall pick ($6,180,700).

“It's great that we got him signed up and joining the organization,” O’s manager Brandon Hyde said. “Congratulations to him, too, and [executive vice president and GM] Mike [Elias] and the rest of our front office scouting department for the pick, for the Draft and getting them signed right away. It's fantastic.”

The 2021 MLB Draft marked the third time in franchise history that the Orioles owned the fifth overall pick -- 2007 and ‘09. Cowser is the fifth Bearkat taken by the O’s. He joins the No. 5 farm system (MLB Pipeline rankings prior to the start of the season).

Cowser, a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award, was also named the Southland Conference Player of the Year during his junior season. Cowser has drawn comparisons to MLB outfielders Brandon Nimmo of the Mets and Cleveland’s Bradley Zimmer.

“Get the guy in our organization, get him with our coaches and our player development staff, and get guys moving, and get guys started on their development,” Hyde said. “Very important to get a first-round pick signed. It's even better when you get them signed right away. Excited to see what he can do.”

After the signing was made official, Cowser took to social media to express his excitement.

“Let’s go!” Cowser said. “Ready to get after it!”

“We are very pleased to have selected Colton with our first-round Draft pick this year,” Elias said. “He has been and is one of the best pure hitters in the country since setting foot on campus at Sam Houston. This year, he put up a superlative line for them, showing power, hitting for average, speed, and defense.

"He’s a five-tool player and he’s somebody we suspect to impact our team and our lineup on both sides of the ball, both offensively and defensively. I think it is rare to get all five of those tools in a college performer like we did, that’s why we took him. We got our guy, I’m very pleased about that.”

As a junior, the center fielder hit .374/.490/.680 with 16 home runs and 52 RBI in 55 games. Cowser led the Southland Conference in a myriad of offensive categories including batting average, on-base percentage, runs and hits.

The Orioles also inked second-round pick Connor Norby on Friday under slot value. The organization has about $1.4 million to pass on to other picks.