In 2019, the Baltimore Orioles would have a franchise-altering draft that included back-to-back future No. 1 overall prospects in Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson.
Of course, they have been the top names in the Orioles’ system, as well as the entire minor leagues since. But forgotten in that 2019 draft, Mike Elias’ first as the Orioles GM, was the competitive balance round pick, Kyle Stowers.
Even though Stowers shared Orioles Minor League Player of the Year with Rutschman in 2021, the power-hitting outfielder has pretty much fallen off the radar.
You would think a player who slashed .260/.356/.491 with 52 home runs and 138 RBIs over a three-year period would get some pundits on his hype train. After a lackluster debut, the shiny polish has worn away, and many have pushed Stowers aside.
Though Stower’s major league slash line was .253/.306/.418 in 34 games, that small sample size doesn’t really paint the picture. When we dive deeper, we see metrics that would explain that an upswing will happen with more consistent playing time.
For example, Stowers’ batting average of balls in play was a strong .339. Factor in that Stowers only had four at-bats against left-handed hitters, and you can see that there is a discrepancy in his overall opportunity.
Other metrics that support Stowers having a stronger season this year include his exit velocity of 91.1%, his expected batting average of .266 and his expected slugging of .447. Those all show above average placement, which also shows some bad luck was involved in his brief time in the big leagues last year.
One thing that has always separated strong contact hitters is the ability to generate line drives. When we look into this statistic, Stowers had a line drive percentage of 25.4%, which placed him in an above average category across major league players in 2022.
A stat that is overlooked from last year is a 12-game stretch that saw Stowers make nine starts towards the end of the season. He would have an OPS of .892 during this span, more along the lines of what he was displaying in the minor leagues.
Stowers comes into this year with a focus on cutting down his swings and misses, as he produced a 29% strikeout rate last season. He has shown the ability to adjust because in his jump from Double-A to Triple-A, Stowers strikeout rate dropped by almost seven percent.
With 2023 being another page in the book of growth for the Orioles, it’s also another step in the progress of the first draft class of Mike Elias’ tenure in Baltimore. While Stowers might be standing in the shadows of Rutschman and Henderson, you won’t hear him complain.
What kind of a season do you think Stowers will have in 2023? Let us know in the comments below! And make sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter, and use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content!
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2 thoughts on “Kyle Stowers: Living amongst shadows”
Depends on the consistency of at bats he recieves. More likely than not he’ll get his share with Hayes & Santanders propensity for injuries, however that doesn’t talk to the ‘consistency’ issue. I’m hoping that Hyde will rotate him in the outfield along with the starters,however we still have to accomodate McKenna.
Could Stowers possibly fill that need for a left handed 1st basemen? Dunno, but I’m sure the brainstrust has at least thought of it.
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Santander will most likely fill in at DH/1B this year. This will allow Stowers to get a good amount of ABs with McKenna taking his 4th OF role