You’ve got to give Mike Elias credit for sticking to his guns.
The Orioles’ general manager has developed a strong modus operandi through his first three drafts as Head Oriole — use your first-round draft pick on an uber-productive college player, particularly productive hitters.
Elias followed his rubric again Sunday night, drafting Sam Houston State outfielder Colton Cowser.
Don’t tell Elias that he reached for Cowser, because you’d be wasting your time. Cowser more than earned his slot with the Orioles as a college center fielder, sporting an OPS higher than 1.000 in both of his two full seasons as a collegiate player.
Cowser’s always been good with the bat, batting .361 in 2019 and .374 in 2021. He slugged over .600 both of those seasons and in 2021, Cowser hit 16 home runs. He hit just seven in 2019.
The scouts agree with the numbers.
“One of the best bats in the college class, Cowser has a pure left-handed stroke and repeatedly finds the barrel,” according to his MLB Pipeline profile. “His quick hands allow him to pepper line drives all over the field as he executes a very controlled approach.”
The Southland Conference Player of the Year should be able to stick in center field too, increasing his value.