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2021 1st round pick (5): Colton Cowser - OF - (Junior) Sam Houston University

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1 hour ago, Sports Guy said:

So there is a lot to like about Cowser.

But I have an issue with this pick overall. 

You are actively trying not to win.  When you are doing that and you draft high, you have 2 advantages to losing.  A high pick and draft pool money.  The draft pool money is directly impacted by the higher pick and that player, even in an underslot deal, is getting a big portion of that money.  
 

Is Colton Cowser worth being a bad team?  
 

Lawlar was a guy that most seemed to believe had elite upside.  Now, maybe he didn’t and maybe the pundits were wrong about him but he has been talked about for over a year as the best player in this draft, or at least  the best position player.

Cowser showed little power coming into this season.  He wasn’t really on the radar as this high of a pick before so I tend to buy into Lawlar, as a kid who has been talked about for a long time and not just a riser at the right time.

In sports, elite talent is what wins you titles.  Very good talent is out there and available.  Very good talent is valuable and you certainly love having it but elite is what puts you over the top.  
 

Elias seems to have a Ravens mentality.  Accumulate picks, draft good players but don’t take the big swings for the elite talent.  This is a strategy that works well in a lot of ways but it also hurts you when you don’t get the elite guys that put you over the top.

If you are going to lose and lose on purpose, you take advantage of the one thing that “rewards” you for losing…the BPA at the top of the draft.  The Orioles didn’t do that.  

 

This is a good post.  I think the easy criticism of the pick is that Lawler or Rocker would have had sizzle.  Of course that means nothing to results.  Cowser doesn't excite and he is an example of the analysis the Orioles have employed.

I said I would accept any pick in the realm of conventional wisdom.  Cowser is among the least exciting of those names but he was there.  The mocks in general were not good.  Davis #1 is a small but not huge surprise.  Lawler especially will be watched here as the idea of an all star ss is difficult to have an opportunity for and not get.   But the idea that Elias still took Cowser means one of a couple of things:

1).  He thinks Cowser in the long run will be the more successful player.  

2).  He decided Lawler was too big a risk.

3).  He decided that the Orioles system is still not populated with enough talent to to trade the risk of hitting on the pick for the allure of high ceiling.

All of us can agree or disagree on good pick or bad.  You and Tony have pushed back a great deal here because people are making judgements when the simple fact is that it will be years before we know.

It is hard for me to think that $ alone drives this but there are obviously many that do. I will only say every time I read Austin Martin, I feel better about what Elias is doing, even though it is still too early to have any defense of what he ultimately chose.  It's a crap shoot.  Trout went 25.  Elite talent is there.  

The post above I think very well captures why the lack of excitement on Cowser exists.  The Orioles have gone to lengths to underperform at the MLB level and get well placed positions in the draft.  We see that and say it's to get guys like Lawler and that makes perfect sense.  

But Cowser is not out of the blue and he is not some unheralded player.  The first round was littered with folks that did not show up in the Mocks.   The point is, that the people who we look at as knowing the most, don't know all that much at all.  They still don't have near the access to the teams as they think and the GM's are looking at still more information.  The important thing to remember is that all of those folks...the GM's, those doing the mocking...they all have more info than we do.

We wanted sizzle.  We got steak.  Time will tell if it was worth the suck.  And saying patience or trust the process doesn't make anyone feel better about sliding into the break on a 51 win pace or whatever.  But that is where the Orioles are...and for what it's worth....I am hanging on for the ride!

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8 minutes ago, Sports Guy said:

Why are you losing on purpose to draft the safe player?  
 

They could have won (the equivalent) to 75-80 games in 2020 and gotten a “safe pick” in the middle third to half way through the first round.
 

 

Bonus pool money to sign the tougher signs that may have ended up going to college.  Listen, I am not crazy about the pick either and would have gone for at least 3 other guys(all high schoolers that would have taken longer to develop) but I get what he is doing and Cowser isnt a bad player.  Conceivably, with this pick you could have 3 first round talents.

Secondly, next years top talent completely makes this years top talent look bottom half of the first round.  Except this year you have almost 2 rounds of bottom half first round talent. I mean, the Pirates took Henry Davis at 1.1. I didnt see anyone that had him as a top 3 pick.  KC picked a kid that no one has heard of at 7, but if I would have told everyone on here that BA or MLB had him ranked 3rd on their list and the kid threw 4 straight no hitters(which he did), then everyone would be whining about not getting the next Kershaw.

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I’m good with them taking Cowser over Rocker with one caveat.

The issue I have with Rocker is worrying about over use and the velocity issues he had this year.  My caveat is that those aren’t easily correctable issues through coaching.  Does he have a simple mechanics fix? If he does and that is the cause for the velocity issues, I think you take him over Cowser.

But since I don’t know that, I’m good with Cowser over him.

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Was hoping Boston got weird and Mayer fell to us but I like this pick, especially if Cowser can stay in CF. I liked Watson but what happened last night was certainly eyebrow raising. Very happy they passed on Lawlar. That would've been the one HS pick I would've hated. A lot of interesting names left on the board.

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1 hour ago, Sports Guy said:


 

Is Colton Cowser worth being a bad team?

 

I’ve seen several people make this comment and it’s pretty disingenuous. Cowser or Lawlar have nothing to do with whether this is a good or bad team. Drafting Lawlar doesn’t make us a better team any more than Cowser. Obviously Elias sees the benefit in under slot for the 1st round. He, and our scouts, have a much better feel for signability and career progression than any of the armchair scouts on this site. 

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9 minutes ago, foxfield said:

It is hard for me to think that $ alone drives this but there are obviously many that do.

People saying this have a fundamental misunderstanding of the baseball draft. If the O's end up spending significantly under their slot, sure, but that's not going to happen.

Elias and his data guys are allocating resources as "smartly" as they can. Nobody here knows if that's the best strategy in any case, much less this one. 

As SG said, Faleris had this guy 8. FG had him 7. Shepherd (another former poster here) had him above Davis. Loves the hit tool. Thinks CF is his position. Add all of that up and the potential to save money TO BE USED ON LATER PICKS and it's at least justifiable. No idea if it'll work. 

While we're at it, let's also stop blaming the Kjerstad situation on going under slot. He and the O's got struck by terrible luck. If that's going to happen, at least I'm glad we saved resources on that pick to spread around. If anything, that justifies the strategy of not putting too many eggs in a single basket. Why can't people get that?

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I think we can we all agree that - no matter whether or not you can make the argument that Cowser had merit being the 5th pick - he was picked in large part because they figure he'll be an under-slot sign?     

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I agree with Keith Law that you can’t judge this pick in isolation.   You have to look at the whole draft and see what we do with the money we saved in Round 1 (whatever that turns out to be).

That said, the underslot strategy makes me nervous for a couple of reasons:

1.   My own gut feeling that the difference in talent towards the top of the draft is likely to be greater than the difference in talent between the guys available to be signed in the second round and onwards.  But I can only assume that Sig et al. have studied the hell out of this issue and concluded the opposite.   I don’t think they’d be applying the underslot strategy on a “gut feeling” — they are data driven and must be doing this with some evidence behind their thinking.

2.   The O’s can’t control who will be available to them in the next few rounds, and can’t be sure what it will cost to sign the ones they are hoping will still be there.   So no matter what the data tells them in a very general way, the specifics may not work out in a way they like.  

So, all that said, I’d be more comfortable if they just went BPA.   But, it will be several years before we see how this all plays out.   So, I’ll just cross my fingers and hope that time proves that Elias & co. knew what they were doing.   

 

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11 minutes ago, foxfield said:

The post above I think very well captures why the lack of excitement on Cowser exists.  The Orioles have gone to lengths to underperform at the MLB level and get well placed positions in the draft.

Yeah, that is certainly a major factor. I have defended the blatant and unapologetic tanking more than many others here, but seeing the payoff turn out to be multiple underslot picks in the top 5 is disheartening and underwhelming, especially when a high-upside, potentially-elite pitcher, which is what we need more than anything else, like Rocker was right there. 

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3 minutes ago, DrinkinWithFermi said:

Yeah, that is certainly a major factor. I have defended the blatant and unapologetic tanking more than many others here, but seeing the payoff turn out to be multiple underslot picks in the top 5 is disheartening and underwhelming, especially when a high-upside, potentially-elite pitcher, which is what we need more than anything else, like Rocker was right there. 

You wanted the falling stock over the rising stock?

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2 hours ago, Roll Tide said:

Didn’t do it to piss you off sir! I figured the casual reader that never ventures off the main Orioles section would be interested. My mistake 

Perhaps a better way to help out would be to start a thread that links to the draft forum. Appreciate you trying to to start conversation but just trying to keep things organized.

 

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2 minutes ago, Frobby said:

The O’s can’t control who will be available to them in the next few rounds, and can’t be sure what it will cost to sign the ones they are hoping will still be there.   So no matter what the data tells them in a very general way, the specifics may not work out in a way they like.  

Yup, especially since it seems that more teams than usual are employing that strategy this year from what I have heard.

Plus it's not like it worked out too well last year with the health problems Kjerstad and Baumler have experienced (not that Kjerstad's potentially career-ending myocarditis could have necessarily been foreseen, but still...).

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4 minutes ago, Frobby said:

 

2.   The O’s can’t control who will be available to them in the next few rounds, and can’t be sure what it will cost to sign the ones they are hoping will still be there.   So no matter what the data tells them in a very general way, the specifics may not work out in a way they like.  



 

I would assume you have had discussions with representatives for each overshot target and have a good idea of what it would take to sign them before you implement this approach. The only unknown variable should be who is still available. 

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3 minutes ago, Ruzious said:

I think we can we all agree that - no matter whether or not you can make the argument that Cowser had merit being the 5th pick - he was picked in large part because they figure he'll be an under-slot sign?     

I don't think so. I think the savings will be smaller than they were with Kjerstad by a decent amount. I think the Orioles wanted Cowser if they couldn't get Leiter or Mayer. Lawler was not an option (Boston was never in on him either which is interesting) and something happened with Watson that we aren't privy to.

 

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