I live in the greater Houston area and am blessed with proximity to some of the largest college baseball programs in the nation: Rice, Texas, and Texas A&M. Each of these teams have made multiple College World Series appearances in the last 15 years. These top-tier programs attract some of the best baseball players across the nation. They also battle each other for Texas high school recruits. Two years ago, all of these programs missed out on Houston area prospect, Colton Cowser. The 6’3″, 200 lb outfielder chose Sam Houston State; a 20,000 student college located in Huntsville, Texas.
Cowser has developed into a potential 1st round draft pick in the 2021 MLB Amateur Draft in his time as a Bearkat at SHS. The latest mock drafts have Cowser going as high as #9 to the Angels or as low as #23 to Cleveland. I have had the chance to watch Cowser multiple times this year, and the hype is well-earned. Cowser’s tools, if showcased at an SEC or Big 12 school, would easily translate into much more media and scout publicity and possibly a higher draft slot. But as I’ve learned this year, that’s not Colton Cowser’s style at all.
No surprise here
— Sam Houston Baseball (@BearkatsBSB) February 1, 2021
We must first look at his recent baseball history to understand Cowser’s work ethic and drive to succeed. While excelling at Cypress Ranch HS in northwest Houston, Cowser was slightly overshadowed by teammates Ty Madden, JJ Goss, and Matt Thompson. Madden is expected to be a Top 5 draft pick out of the University of Texas in 2021, while Goss and Thompson were both 2nd rounders in the 2019 MLB Draft. Some players might get frustrated being in the shadows of other prospects, but Cowser took it in stride. He focused on the things he could control and blocked out the things he couldn’t.
During the final home series of 2021, a four-game set against conference leader Abilene Christian, Cowser displayed the determination and grit MLB scouts are raving about. First, there was an attempted drag-bunt for a single. Next, there was the head-first slide into home. Then, a couple of aggressive stolen bases with head-first and pop-up slides. Finally, there was a “Superman” full extension layout for a flyball into right center, that caused some turf burn and a sore neck. I asked Cowser about risking injuries in those scenarios with the draft just weeks away. “Gotta go all out. It’s the only way I know how to play.”, was Cowser’s response with a smile. During the series against ACU, he went 6 for 14 with 1 RBI, 5 R, 2 BB, 3 SB, 1 SAC.
Colton Cowser’s left-handed swing shows incredible balance and consistency. Quick hands through the zone generate above-average bat speed and constant contact to all fields. As a freshman at SHS, he slashed .361/1.052/.602, leading the conference in H, XBH, and R. Cowser’s approach in each at bat produces gap power and line drives into the gaps. As his frame strengthens and fills out, Cowser should add to his ‘hit tool’ with increased power numbers. Developing more lower-body torque and a slightly higher launch angle will be the goal of the MLB team selecting Colton in the 2021 MLB Draft.
Colton Cowser, OF, @BearkatsBSB, #13 in MLB’s 2021 Draft Player Rankings
Quiet, balanced approach w/ quick hands allow him to identify the pitch and break a split-second longer. Effortless line-drive, gap power.
— Kurt Moody (@DET_Guru_Kurt) March 5, 2021
Cowser continued his strong college career after the lost season of 2020. Thru 45 games in 2021, he is hitting .354 with 13 HR and 40 RBI. Because Cowser is no longer under the radar, other teams in the Southland Conference have started to pitch around him, drawing 46 walks with 12 of those being intentional. Opposing pitchers are avoiding the zone, forcing takes from Cowser even with runners on base. Watching his approach at the plate, one can sense his frustration in not being able to swing the bat.
Cowser is an above-average outfielder with a good initial burst and closing speed. His future on staying in center could hinge on two things: his body development as he adds muscle and what MLB team drafts him. First, added leg and core strength might push Cowser to a corner outfield spot. Secondly, the team that drafts him might already have a franchise center fielder (like Mike Trout). He has the arm strength that fits any MLB ballpark. A few times this season, the arm strength has sent throws to the backstop. As Cowser proceeds into MiLB and is surrounded a team of elite players, he will learn to trust the cutoff man more.
There are many things to love about Colton Cowser’s future; speed, arm, power, average. Beyond the field, it is his ability to not worry about “noise” and focus on his game. Cowser’s name could be called before any other outfielder in July’s Draft, and when that happens it will be well-deserved. I believe Cowser will go #9 to the Los Angeles Angels and make an MLB Debut in 2024 after two years in MiLB. The current MLB player comparable to Cowser is Kyle Tucker and the past MLB player is Paul O’Neill.