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The Orioles select Colton Cowser fifth overall in the 2021 MLB Draft

Baltimore takes an advanced college hitter with the fifth overall pick.

Shriners Hospitals For Children College Classic Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With the fifth selection in the 2021 MLB Draft, the Orioles selected OF Colton Cowser out of Sam Houston State University.

For his entire collegiate career, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound Cowser has looked like a hitter who could make the difference at the top of a lineup. The left-handed hitter possesses plus-plus contact and on-base skills, hitting .361/.450/.602 as a freshman before missing most of his sophomore season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He took another step forward as a junior, hitting 16 home runs and boosting his slash line to .374/.490/.680.

Cowser flashes above-average speed, and though there are some questions about whether he’s strong enough defensively to play center field regularly at the major league level, he should be able to provide plus defense at an outfield corner at the very least. Assuming he stays healthy, Cowser’s polished approach at the plate makes him the type of player who could move very quickly up the minor league ladder.