For the Baltimore Orioles and most MLB fans in general, Adley Rutschman has been the talk of the town since 2019.
But what many pundits don’t recall is the player that was selected after Rutschman, outfielder Kyle Stowers.
Stowers was drafted out of Stanford, one of three players from the school selected in the first 12 picks by the Orioles in 2019. The six-foot-three, 200-pound Stowers, with the surfer hair, is a lefty power hitter, who has an above average arm and projects as a corner outfielder.
Stowers was assigned to then Low-A Aberdeen where he would play 55 games. Over that stretch, he would bat .216 with six home runs and 23 RBIs, hardly enough to turn any heads.
Stowers, unfortunately, missed the chance to showcase his talent professionally in 2020 due to COVID-19 cancelling the minor league season. The rest might of been the best thing to happen for Stowers, as he used the time to get himself ready for 2021 and beyond.
Stowers came into 2021 starting the season in now-High-A Aberdeen. It didn’t take long to make an impact, as he needed just 36 games to make some noise.
To the tune of seven round trippers and 32 RBIs, Stowers was showing some pop off his bat. His OBP was .404 and his OPS was .900. The young lefty had done enough to earn a promotion to Double-A Bowie.
Stowers would make the most of his opportunity. Playing with Rutschman and many other top prospects, Stowers would be one of those prospects getting the most attention.
Across 66 games, he would hit 17 home runs and drive in 42, while helping lead Bowie to one of the best records in the minors. He would play above average defense, becoming an all-around talent that was showing promise for the future within the organization.
Slugging .561 and reaching base at a clip of .377, Stowers was making the most of his opportunity and making sure he didn’t lose the chance to shine. The Orioles saw this and decided to promote Stowers once again.
Stowers would be taking his talents to Triple-A Norfolk, where he would end the season playing 22 games.
The outfielder would average a hit across those 22 games, with three homers and 11 RBIs. He would also score 10 runs and walk 12 times in that span.
On the season, across three levels, Stowers would hit .278 and pace the Orioles minor league circuit with 27 home runs. In his 124 games, he would collect 125 hits, 85 RBIs and walk 73 times.
Stowers’ season was enough to bring home Orioles Co-Minor League Player of the Year, sharing the award with 2019 first overall pick, Adley Rutschman. It appeared the Orioles had maximized their top two picks of the draft and found another diamond in the rough.
Stowers would be invited to spring training, before eventually making his way back to the Tides to begin the 2022 season.
Stowers has picked up right where he left off last season. Through 15 at-bats this year, he already has two home runs, seven RBIs and is hitting .533 with an OPS of 1.917.
The one thing from last year that Stowers will need to work on is his strikeouts. He struck out 171 times across the season yet has started this season with just one strikeout across 15 plate appearances.
With his defense improving, Stowers has all the tools to become a strong corner outfielder. He was picked without much fan fare, but he has created a lot of attention since that time.
It appears Stowers has made a strong case to take his talents higher, and he has put the Orioles in a good yet tough spot when it comes to outfield talent and depth in the organization.
While he continues to grow and improve, we might be seeing the O’s No. 8 prospect roam an outfield spot at Camden Yards before too long, this season, in fact.
In 2019, Rutschman might of been the most talked about pick for the Orioles, but Kyle Stowers has turned enough heads to give the Orioles two top talents that appear to be a part of a rebuild that is knocking on the door to contention.
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