The Mariners pick 12th in this year’s MLB Draft, and there are a lot of options for who they could take. Will it be a high school catcher? How about another college arm? What about a sweet-swinging lefty who is set to be the highest draft pick in his school’s history? That’s who we look at now in Colton Cowser, the left-handed outfielder from Sam Houston State.
Cowser, a high school teammate of Ty Madden, could make it two picks from Cypress Ranch HS players who shone for Texas (Madden) and Sam Houston State (Cowser). In fact, some rate Cowser as the top outfield prospect in this year’s draft, just ahead of Sal Frelick and Benny Montgomery.
The Mariners could add to their strong outfield depth by drafting Colton Cowser at 12.
The question with Cowser and the Mariners isn’t if he is good enough to go there, it’s if he will still be available. Looking through mocks, I have seen him up to 5th and all the way down to 23rd. It’s quite the range for what may be the best left-handed college bat in this year’s class. That alone should be enough to guarantee him a top 15 pick. As long as he goes 17th or earlier, he will earn the title of top pick from Sam Houston State in the school’s history.
With only a 50 grade on power, there were some questions about the long-term potential pop that he could provide at the next level. He provided a strong answer to that by going deep 16 times this season in 253 plate appearances, as well as hitting big flies in five straight games back in April. It’s not just the power number that jumps out, but his all-around game that impresses. 17/20 on steals this season, and a slash line of .374/.490/.680, and just 32 strikeouts.
Normally, as players get a bit older and start to fill out, they move away from the speedier positions, trending towards the corner spots on the diamond. Colton Cowser is the opposite. He played in 20 games at 3B in 2019 for Sam Houston State, with 16 in LF and 29 in RF. By 2021, he was playing solely in centerfield, with all 55 games played there.
With great bat control, he should end up sporting a decent average in the majors. Think of someone like young Michael Brantley, April darling Akil Baddoo, or even… Jake Fraley. He’s going to have an outside shot at putting together a 20/20 season as long as he continues to develop and shows that the power from this year can translate to the professional level. He could even comp to Trent Grisham or Kyle Tucker and put up 25 home runs in a season.
There’s no doubt that Colton Cowser could put up a .275 20/20 season with solid defense in the outfield. He may end up pushed to left with his slightly above-average arm strength, but his good instincts and jumps on the ball help to make up for that. The Mariners seem to like college players in the first, last taking a high schooler in 2014 when they selected Alex Jackson. If Cowser is there at 12, the Mariners are going to have to seriously consider taking him to further bolster their OF depth.