Top prospect's blast powered by ... hard-boiled egg?
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Nobody inside of Hammond Stadium saw where Colton Cowser’s third-inning home run landed Friday afternoon. That’s because it cleared the large batter’s eye in center field and ended up somewhere in the foliage beyond the ballpark.
The Statcast data speaks for itself: a projected distance of 476 feet, an exit velocity of 106 mph and a launch angle of 27 degrees.
In plain words, Cowser got every bit of this one during the Orioles’ 5-3 Grapefruit League win over the Twins. It was the third homer of the spring for Baltimore’s No. 4 prospect (and MLB Pipeline’s No. 40 overall prospect).
It was also the O’s third consecutive homer off Minnesota starter Tyler Mahle to open the third inning, as Cowser followed Jordan Westburg (Baltimore’s No. 5 prospect and MLB Pipeline’s No. 74 overall prospect) and Daz Cameron in jolting back-to-back-to-back long balls. While it isn’t known the last time the Orioles accomplished the feat in an exhibition contest, they last did so in the regular season on Aug. 6, 2017 (Jonathan Schoop, Chris Davis and Trey Mancini vs. Detroit’s Aníbal Sánchez at Camden Yards).
Of Friday’s trifecta, Cowser’s blast easily stole the show. Did the extra power come from the 22-year-old eating his Wheaties this morning? No, but there was some added protein in his breakfast.
“I usually just go with some French toast, avocado, some bacon,” Cowser said. “I actually had a hard-boiled egg this morning, that was new. So I may have to mix that in.”
Cowser has 55-grade power (on the 20-80 scouting scale), but even manager Brandon Hyde was surprised to learn the homer went 476 feet -- which would have ranked as the seventh-longest home run of the 2022 MLB season and was longer than any hit by an Orioles player last year.
“Is that what it was?” Hyde said. “He put a great swing on that.”
It was an all-around impressive day for Cowser, who also had an RBI single to go 2-for-3 and made a nice sliding catch in left field in the fifth. Although he’s unlikely to break camp with the team, he’s making the most of his opportunity to play in front of the Orioles’ big league staff.
Cowser is batting .240 (6-for-25) in Grapefruit play, but he has a .472 on-base percentage (thanks to his 11 walks in 36 plate appearances) and a .600 slugging percentage. The youngster said he’s been getting more comfortable as he continues to accumulate at-bats.
“The big thing has just been honing in on the approach -- looking for a good pitch to hit and putting a good swing on it,” Cowser said.
Kremer back from World Baseball Classic
Dean Kremer made his third Grapefruit appearance of the spring for the Orioles, allowing two runs -- via back-to-back homers by Kyle Farmer and Michael A. Taylor with two outs in the second -- and striking out three over four innings. It was another solid showing for the 27-year-old right-hander, who is likely to break camp in Baltimore’s rotation.
Kremer returned to Sarasota on Thursday after spending a week in Miami for the World Baseball Classic, where he represented Israel, which went 1-3 before getting eliminated. He pitched in Israel’s lone victory of Pool D play, tossing four scoreless innings vs. Nicaragua last Sunday.
“It was a lot of fun,” Kremer said. “It felt like every game was a road game because all the Latin countries were very present. They brought the crowd every night. All four countries, they all traveled really well. So it was an awesome atmosphere.”
• Félix Bautista's second Grapefruit League appearance of the spring may have been even more impressive than his first. The 27-year-old closer retired the Minnesota side in order in the fifth, needing only nine pitches (eight of which were strikes) to do so. He also touched 100.1 mph with his fastball.
Through two outings, Bautista has retired all six batters he’s faced, striking out four and throwing only 24 total pitches.
“Some defensive swings against him, so when you see that, you know he’s getting there,” Hyde said.
• Gunnar Henderson, the No. 1 overall prospect in baseball, snapped an 0-for-15 skid with a one-out triple in the fifth. It was his first extra-base hit of the spring and his first knock since a single on March 4.