Colton Cowser wasn’t a highly recruited baseball player out of the Texas high school ranks. He committed to Sam Houston State his junior year in 2017, as he didn’t “get recruited by many other schools” and believed he could contribute immediately at Sam Houston State, he said.
As a senior at Cypress Ranch High School, Cowser also didn’t garner much MLB draft attention. Most of the professional scouts who attended Cypress Ranch High’s baseball games went to see Cowser’s friend and right-handed pitcher Ty Madden, who is now a junior at Texas.
The lack of attention didn’t bother Cowser, however. Instead, it motivated him to develop and make an impact at Sam Houston State. Three years after going undrafted, Cowser is one of the top players in college baseball after playing right away as a freshman. The junior outfielder also is a potential top-10 pick in July’s draft.
Outfielder Glenn Wilson, who the Detroit Tigers drafted 18th overall in 1980, is the only first-round pick out of Sam Houston State in the program’s history.
“It is exciting to go through it now,” said Cowser on the draft’s attention. “It’s something you don’t really expect. I put the work in to get it, and it’s paying off right now. You just have to maintain and keep going and never settle.”
Cowser excelled as a freshman at Sam Houston State in 2019. The left-handed hitter hit a notable .361 with 17 doubles, seven triples, seven home runs, and 54 RBIs in 216 at-bats in 56 games.
After his freshman campaign, Cowser earned a spot on the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. He was the first Sam Houston State player to make the team and received the MVP award after hitting .438 in the USA vs. Cuba series.
Cowser posted a .255 batting average with three doubles, one home run, and six RBIs in 55 at-bats in 14 games as a sophomore in a COVID-19 pandemic-shortened season.
“I tapped into my power a little more my freshman year than I knew I had,” Cowser said. “That gave me a huge confidence boost.”
Cowser uses an upright batting stance that consists of his feet about shoulder width apart before his stride. He has strong and quick hands and wrists and uses an inside-out approach. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound left-handed hitter offers an intriguing combination of average and power offensively and hits the ball to all parts of the field. He also displays a notable strike zone discipline.
“I think my bat to ball skills are my biggest strength,” Cowser said. “I just can put the barrel on the ball and do that consistently. I think that’s something I do really well. I am just a pure hitter when it comes to that standpoint.”
Cowser is an above-average runner who uses his speed on the base pads and in the outfield. In his freshman year, he played all three outfield positions and third base. He mostly played the outfield corner positions in high school but has received experience playing center field in college.
He believes he can stick in center field long-term. Besides his athleticism, Cowser has strong defensive instincts and solid arm strength. He also spent the offseason working on his route running.
“It is a position I have really only played for two years, but I think my defense has increased drastically over those two years,” Cowser said. “I am getting more and more comfortable every day. I am just improving, and my arm strength has improved. I think I can stick there.”
This spring will be an important year for Cowser, as pro scouts heavily scout him in anticipation of the draft. But despite the outside attention, Cowser’s top priority is leading Sam Houston State back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2017.
“As a team, we have a good shot at winning the conference,” Cowser said. “That is something we want to do. We want to have a top-40 RPI, and we want to have 40-plus wins. Those are two good goals to have. Individually, I want to go out there and enjoy it and have fun.”
Read more in-depth stories on top 2021 MLB draft prospects here.
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for six years. He’s interviewed 253 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he’s appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.