The Orioles have signed first round pick Colton Cowser with a $4.9MM bonus, per Jon Heyman of the MLB Network (via Twitter). Cowser was selected with the #5 overall pick, which carries a slot value of $6,180,700.
As with their first round pick last season, Heston Kjerstad, the Orioles chose Cowser with an eye on signing him to a below-slot value, which should enable them to spend more money further down in the draft. Of course, just because Cowser signed for under slot doesn’t mean he’s not worthy of the pick. Cowser spent three seasons at Sam Houston State University, winning the Southland Conference Player of the Year Award in his junior season, slashing .374/.490/.680 with 16 home runs.
Baseball America ranked him as the No. 11 prospect in the draft, calling him “a rare safe harbor who provides a long history of hitting.” Keith Law put him at No. 14 in his draft preview for The Athletic, while Fangraphs was more bullish, placing him at No. 6 overall with a 50 Future Value. Cowser’s contact is a plus tool, and he’ll unlock his ceiling if he continues to display power while playing centerfield.