Outfielder Colton Cowser has taken time to acclimate at nearly every level of his professional career, and his major league debut last season was no different.
He hit just .115—that’s 7-for-61—in 26 games for the Orioles.
In past seasons, Cowser might have been granted a longer leash to figure things out in Baltimore. But that wasn’t the case with the Orioles in contention for their first playoff appearance since 2016.
That’s why the 24-year-old Cowser is holding out hope that he can learn from those struggles, build on his success at Triple-A Norfolk and win a role on Baltimore’s Opening Day roster.
“Just because you struggle doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always frustrating,” Cowser told reporters at the team’s Birdland Caravan event in January.
“There were some certain struggles that I couldn’t really control, and I think that it’s all about the frame of mind that you’re in and whether you take that as a learning experience or just kind of sulk in your sorrows.
“I choose to take that as a learning experience.”
Cowser debuted on July 5 in New York with Cedric Mullins II and Aaron Hicks both out with injuries. He spent a month-plus in the majors but failed to adjust to pitchers in that time.
Cowser’s selective nature saw him taking strikes and ending up in bad counts, and MLB pitchers attacked his weaknesses on non-fastballs.
Still, the Orioles harbor hope for Cowser, whom they drafted fifth overall out of Sam Houston State in 2021. He put up a .996 OPS at Triple-A before his MLB debut. His .777 mark afterward reflects developmental goals related to being more aggressive in the strike zone.
Cowser enters camp in a crowded Orioles outfield scene, with projected starters Mullins, Austin Hays and Anthony Santander backed by 40-man roster players Heston Kjerstad, Ryan McKenna, Kyle Stowers and Sam Hilliard.
“We’re going to have a really competitive spring,” Cowser said. “I know we have a lot of really good outfielders on this team, and a lot of guys who can play multiple positions. But I’m looking forward to competing.”