Orioles general manager Mike Elias told Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on Sunday that he expects top pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez to crack the team’s Opening Day rotation out of camp this spring and that he also believes top outfield prospect Colton Cowser will be ready to make his MLB debut at some point in 2023.
Rodriguez was striding confidently toward Baltimore last summer before he suffered Grade 2 right lat strain while working in a game at Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He didn’t return to action in the minors until September, and by the time he got properly stretched out again, the O’s chances of a late-season push to the playoffs had fully cratered. The 23-year-old ultimately finished with a 2.62 ERA, 109 strikeouts and 28 walks in 75 2/3 innings (17 starts) between High-A Aberdeen, Double-A Bowie and Norfolk. He’s recorded a career 2.47 ERA with 419 strikeouts in 292 total professional frames since the Orioles selected him 11th overall in the 2018 MLB Draft, but the lineups and environments of the AL East obviously present a far greater test than what he’s seen on the farm.
Cowser, the No. 5 overall pick from the 2021 MLB Draft, also reached the Triple-A level in 2022 and produced an overall .278/.406/.469 batting line with 19 home runs and 18 stolen bases in his 138 minor league games. The 22-year-old has experience at all three outfield spots and boasts an .895 OPS so far as a pro. If there’s an injury to Austin Hays, Cedric Mullins or Anthony Santander, the ETA on Cowser could further shrink.
A brighter future is rapidly coming into focus at Camden Yards.
- Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo spoke glowingly of the organization’s young players and rising prospects at the club’s Hot Stove event for full-season-ticket holders this weekend, as relayed by Stephen Mears of TalkNats.com. CJ Abrams, Luis Garcia, Keibert Ruiz, Cade Cavalli, MacKenzie Gore and Josiah Gray all earned a specific mention. “This is the most lush and successful prospect list that we’ve ever had,” Rizzo said. “It’s the most talented players we’ve ever had in the farm system at one time.” The big buzz is that Cavalli could be positioned to join Gore and Gray in Washington’s season-opening starting rotation with Stephen Strasburg’s health still a lingering uncertainty.
- Spencer Steer acknowledged at a Reds Caravan event over the weekend that he has his sights set on the everyday third base job in Cincinnati this season. “I’m going to do everything I can to win that spot,” he told MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon. “I think it’s doable and attainable. That will be my focus: getting into that lineup and staying in that lineup.” Acquired from the Twins at the trade deadline last August in the return package for Tyler Mahle, the 25-year-old Steer went on to bat .211/.306/.326 across his first 28 big league games. He was slashing .274/.364/.515 in the minors prior to his promotion to the Reds’ roster.
Law doesn’t have Cowser in his top 100. Which is ridiculous by the way
Pretty sure he didn’t have the Orioles as the 10th best farm system last year which included Adley.
Let me reword that: he had them as the 10th best farm system, which still included Adley
Did Mike Rizzo even bother to mention what he expects from the team’s highest paid player in history? Or did he just ignore it? Or did he pretend “injuries are inevitable” and no one can predict an injury? Or did he finally admit that everyone else knew he was making a tremendous mistake by giving an extremely injury prone player like Strasburg that much money and everyone else knew it but somehow obvious catastrophic mistakes like that happen under his regime due to bouts of extreme poor judgement in the worst case scenarios? Or at least just make a half excuse by admitting Boras is so much smarter than him they should never sit at the same negotiating table? Any of those would have been very transparent and honest but I bet he avoided every single one.
I’m positive that was a Lerner decision, not a very smart GM.
Never trust a GM who is in love with “deferred contracts.” That’s their way of saying they will probably be fired before the contracts are over so they can make it the next GM’s problem in terms of annual payroll. The smartest GMs get the teams out of “salary hell.” The great GMs never have salary problems. The worst GMs create salary hell. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one worse than Rizzo. Do people still know that they are paying Scherzer $15 million a year until well after his Mets contract is over? He doesn’t want to run a team. He wants to exploit finances and pass the buck on to the next GM after he is fired. The GMs who are great at their jobs plan to stick around a long time and want as little debt on the books as possible. Guys like Rizzo don’t care about that.
The Lerners are responsible for the big financial decisions the Nats make, not the GM. They just leave it him to get the paperwork done. Especially when it came to dealing with Boras, who often negotiated directly with the owners. Rizzo has been a long serving GM for the Nats, too. He’s never been looking to be gone by the time deferred contract payments kick in.
Rizzo is prone to gushing corporate blah-blah. Not uncommon but not one of his better features.
C Yards Jeff
Cowser’s plate approach isn’t gonna resonate all that much with the top 100 player list prognosticators. He’s a gapper guy, not a launch angle thumper. Somebody’s gotta get on base base for the rakers to do their thing. That’s Cowser.
Reminds me of Markakis, from they way he’s described so far
2012: Markakis level from Cowser wouldn’t be a bad thing, provided they get additional RBI guys coming up behind him. You’ve got Adley and next best would be Santander who had a career year.
The problem with Markakis when he came up is that he had his best power seasons early so folks expected him to develop into a 30-40 HR guy (and Orioles brass was on board with that outlook) which never happened. The good to very good player he turned out to be – 20 HR, .290 to .300 with a high OBP and a great arm – ended up being kind of a disappointment as a result.
Rizzo gave no props to Menses? I know he is 31 but c’mon he made people forget about that player sent to San Diego by outplaying him
Sid Bream Speed Demon
No one has forgotten about Soto, including you since you mention him here.
The Orioles are so close to being a perennial playoff team. Love it.
i like al conin
Which makes it strange they didn’t sign any big free agents this year.
I asked a question in the live chat about how or if the Orioles would follow the blueprint of the Astros with the Elias ties. The writer brought up how the Astros seemed “a year ahead” of schedule and they didn’t go after any big names until that next year. I’m hoping this is the case for the Os too.
So old guys that are going downhill and making big bucks block their youngsters that are both the near and long-term future from playing and developing?
Why? Because there are still holes on the team.
A veteran starter who can give you 200 innings of above average ball for a few years would do wonders for the rotation and give Grayson Rodriguez that example. Think of Rick Sutcliffe who pitched league average in 1992 for 240 innings….Mussina developed into an ace and McDonald turned it around…the terrible rotation in 1991 was suddenly very good in 1992.
I keep saying hoping that the offense is “good enough” combined with spare parts for rotation and hoping the bullpen becomes ultra dominant is a thin margin for competing year after year.
Mikey the man
Who was a free agent this offseason that pitched over 200 innings last year?
I think next offseason will be more active for them. They will have a better idea of which youngsters will stick and what their areas of need are.
This should be an enjoyable year for Os fans. They avoided dabbling in free agency with the reality they will not win the AL crown, so they might as well continue giving abs and innings to their current roster so when someone makes the claim that old veterans are blocking advancement of future prospects, then who are you exactly talking about? Its a very young roster, so whomever made the comment is talking out of their ass.
@Troutahni no, Samuel was not “talking out of his ass,” he was correctly pointing out that free agency signings would only serve to block the young guys at this point, so not making major FA moves was the way to go. We did not develop a top talent pipeline just to spend money on other players.
C Yards Jeff
Can’t make any multi year free agent deals until they see what they have in Rodriguez and, to an extent, Hall. This should have happened last year but injuries got in the way. Once the FO sees what they have will determine where they go via 8/2 trade deadline and in the 23 free agent market. IMHO, the Os are soooo close to consistent relevancy.
C Yards Jeff I think you’ve been around long enough to know that all the prospects won’t pan out. I just hope someone home grown other than Adley becomes the real deal. My Matuszitis prevents me from saying anything other than “I have to see it (at the MLB level) to believe it.”
Each time I have to repeat this, I will bring up a non-ripening Orioles prospect from the past. Today I’ll mention Ken Gerhart, who hit 28 HR at AAA in 1986 and had run a lot in previous seasons. “This is our 30/30 guy,” said the Orioles brass. Gerhart came up a bit in 1987 and got a full time spot in 1988, He did not reach 30 HR or 30 SB for his CAREER.
GIven how often I post, I have enough to get halfway through 2023 with these and by then we should have an idea about how a couple more of the young guys are doing.
Nationals had Bryce Harper and Strasburg in their system at the same time. This group is good, but best ever ? What are u talking about !?!
Actually not. Harper’s first and only minors season was 2011. In 2010 Strasburg pitched 12 games in the majors. So he was already up. And after drafting Rendon, they really didn’t have much young talent other than those 3.
Didn’t they have Robles? Who was supposed to be better than this other Kid named Soto they had at the time Harper was in his last year there?
Whatever happened to that Soto kid? He seemed like he was going places. Lol
In 2010, Robles was 12 years old. I agree with Rizzo. This is by far the best group of prospects the Nats have ever had. What people don’t realize is how much MLB tore down the Expos before they moved to Washington. When they moved, they didn’t even have one pitcher in the entire organization that threw 90 mph.
Harper was with the Nats until 2019 No?
Robles came up in 2017 No?
Soto was there in 2018 No?
Yea didn’t think my comment was wrong.
You made me do research to confirm my original comment was correct.
How dare you
So you are saying because Harper, Robles, and Soto played parts of one year together that they had more young prospects then they do now? Harper wasn’t a young prospect by then anyway.
No. O.P. said there have been better.
In agreement with him, I stated 2 very valuable and sought after prospects who happened to also be on the team when Harper was still around
Unless Gore becomes a top 5 Ace or Ruiz becomes a top 3 C. I don’t think this Prospect class can be considered the “best ever”
No one could throw 90. That’s a stretch. I
Hard to believe but true
GrayRod may start the season in the rotation but he seems unlikely to finish it there given his workload restrictions (or at least will be shut down a lot in between).
Why do people here take whatever is said even before the season starts as what will happen for 6 months (not counting the playoffs)?
In 2022 the Orioles had 35 players pitch for them and 25 position players hit for them.
They were in-line with most teams in MLB.
6 man rotation seems to make sense if G-Rod is indeed going to crack it out of the gate. Bradish, G-Rod, Gibson, Irvin, kremer. Voth or Wells could take the 6 slot.
This is definitely notable news. I expected him to be In Norfolk for a month so.
BBB I agree, I don’t think they’ll run a 6 man rotation out of the gate. Since Grayson’s top innings is 103 (2021) I could see them cutting him off at 120-140 IP after 20-25 starts. That will be late enough in the season to determine if they’re competing or not. If not competing, it’ll be TBD for #6 as we’ve seen so many years, or maybe they feel close enough to go out and get a starter in July to carry them through the remainder of the year (unlikely, its the Orioles).
We have 7 real rotation options right now.
Mostly back of the rotation guys. Voth, kremer, Irvin, Bradish, and Gibson individually would be backend guys on a lot of playoff contenders too.
No reason we couldn’t go with 6 to start the year to spread out innings for the guys. Don’t know that we will—but could be done. I don’t think anyone of those guys is ticketed for AAA.
This one belongs to the Reds
Apparently no one is bullish on Steer.
I think he can be a regular but I don’t see an India style star. Could be wrong though.
Sid Bream Speed Demon
India is no star.
He is on the reds. I agree he wouldn’t be on most teams but he will be a well above average player for a few years at least..but he has already been injured so I hear ya.
This one belongs to the Reds
He wouldn’t be on most big market teams. Corrected it for you.
I’m rooting for him, if not bullish. Here’s a guy that seems to be well grounded and driven to succeed. The opportunity is there for his taking. Looking at his minor league numbers his OBP is nearly a hundred pts higher than his BA which suggests he has discipline at the plate. Has also shown a little pop in his bat. Can play any IF position too. A lot to like in his profile.
This one belongs to the Reds
Just from the eye test the end of last season, I could tell he had a good idea what he was doing at the plate. He didn’t swing much at bad pitches and would take a walk. After watching Aquino flail at everything in the city limits of Cincinnati for a couple of years, that was refreshing.