Orioles rookie Colton Cowser hoping to ‘cease pondering so rattling a lot’ as roster crunch looms

As July turned to August, Orioles rookies Gunnar Henderson and Colton Cowser spent the night a method they oft have: having fun with Rocket League. However Henderson entered the gaming session with a perform.

Since arriving inside the majors, Cowser had struggled, perhaps no further so than that night’s recreation, when he struck out 3 occasions in 4 at-bats inside the assortment opener with the Toronto Blue Jays to drop his predominant league batting frequent underneath .100. Afterward, Cowser admitted Friday, “there was no confidence there in any respect.” Henderson gave him set off to get some once more.

“He was like, ‘I simply went by means of the identical stuff. Simply proceed to work by means of it. It’s solely gonna aid you sooner or later,’” Cowser talked about. “And now, you have a look at him, and it’s fairly encouraging. Simply acquired to capitalize on the alternatives that I get.”

But it surely’s unclear what variety of further alternate options Cowser, Baltimore’s No. 2 prospect consistent with Baseball America, will get. Earlier than Friday’s assortment opener with the Seattle Mariners, the Orioles activated Cedric Mullins from the injured itemizing, whereas Aaron Hicks, one different ailing coronary heart fielder, begins a rehabilitation activity with Triple-A Norfolk. The returns of those established outfielders might squeeze Cowser off the roster.

Henderson, who entered the 12 months as baseball’s No. 1 prospect, was able to work by his struggles inside the majors. By way of the season’s first 30 video video games, he was batting .174 with a .643 OPS nonetheless entered Friday hitting .262 with an .840 OPS since. Henderson emphasised to his pal that he stick with his routine and by no means try to alter an extreme quantity of.

“I simply needed to succeed in out to him and, in a really low-key manner, simply sort of see how he’s doing,” Henderson talked about. “Actually simply discuss to him, see how he’s doing mentally as a result of I went by means of the very same factor and answered the identical actual questions. Simply making an attempt to cross on what I went by means of and simply shorten his time in it as a result of everyone knows what he can do at any time when he will get going.”

With Triple-A Norfolk, Cowser, 23, hit .330/.459/.537 to turn into Baseball America’s No. 12 normal prospect. By way of his first 26 predominant league video video games, Cowser is hitting .115/.286/.145, flying out on a hard-hit ball and strolling twice Friday whereas having fun with left with Mullins in coronary heart.

Baltimore’s selection with the fifth normal resolve inside the 2021 draft, Cowser had sluggish begins all by means of his climb up the Orioles’ farm system, and although these experiences give him hope now, he talked about they didn’t embody the extent of expectations upon him inside the primary leagues.

He added his factors aren’t related to his swing, nonetheless fairly his psychological technique, saying his foremost goal is to “cease pondering so rattling a lot.”

“Simply gonna attempt to go on the market and luxuriate in it, have enjoyable and play like I acquired nothing to lose as a result of in actuality, can’t actually get a lot worse proper now,” Cowser talked about. “Simply gonna try to go available on the market with that mindset and be myself and have pleasing.

“I feel that it may well solely actually go up from right here, and that’s sort of the primary factor I’m specializing in, simply what I can do to assist this group win.”

With Henderson and fellow former excessive prospect Adley Rutschman as examples, Orioles supervisor Brandon Hyde described what Cowser goes by as “typical younger man struggles.” He talked about Cowser, recognized for his affected particular person technique, used that expertise early, nonetheless as opposing pitchers began to assault him further, he steadily found himself behind inside the rely and struggled to battle once more.

After that robust first day in Toronto, Hyde sat him the next three days, saying he wished to supply Cowser some time to “chill out.” Within the final recreation of the gathering, he delivered a pinch-hit double at 106 mph. 5 of his six balls in play this month have been a minimum of 95 mph, nonetheless solely two have turn into hits.

“He’s beginning to hit balls exhausting, they usually’re excellent to individuals,” Henderson talked about. “Plenty of guys that get known as up undergo the identical factor. They sort of battle after which begin hitting balls exhausting, and after they begin falling, then they get going they usually don’t ever look again.”

Nonetheless, Cowser’s numbers have ticked up significantly since that night with Henderson, with the rookie outfielder batting .222 with a .697 OPS in August. Cowser talked about he initially allowed his on-field effectivity to affect his off-field persona, nonetheless Henderson praised his pal for remaining his joyful, joking self, saying a clubhouse presence akin to Cowser’s is “what you want” presently of 12 months.

However the Orioles, with a two-game lead inside the American League East, moreover need manufacturing. Throughout their rebuild, they could perhaps afford to allow a youthful participant to local weather his struggles inside the majors. Whether or not they’re eager to do the similar with Cowser all through a postseason push will probably be examined when Hicks returns as shortly as Monday.

“There’s no actual tender touchdown within the huge leagues, particularly in August and also you’re making an attempt to win,” Hyde talked about. “It’s not easy, and most of our video video games we play are shut, and so the way in which you comfy land a participant? It’s not ‘19, ‘20 or ‘21 right here now. We’re trying to win video video games, and in addition you do the simplest you probably can to position guys in place to have some success, try to have good conversations, try to make guys loosen up as quite a bit as doable, try to make guys be happy with themselves, try to provide them confidence as quite a bit as doable, but it surely absolutely’s their job to hold out.

“We’re in search of guys who may also help us win proper now. We simply attempt to make them really feel as relaxed as attainable, and hopefully, they do.”