The Orioles announced they had selected the outfielder Kyle Stowers and right-handed Rico Garcia on the major league roster as designated COVID-19 “replacements.” In the corresponding movements, they placed the flyer Anthony Santander and left-handed Keegan Akin on the shortlist. This is standard practice for players who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 on teams heading to a series in Toronto. The Canadian government prohibits unvaccinated athletes from crossing the border, so Santander and Akin will miss the next four matches.
Stowers is the more notable of the two call-ups, as he is now in line to make his major league debut. An additional second-round pick from Stanford in 2019, the left-handed hitter has been one of the organization’s hottest prospects since then. Stowers has appeared among Baltimore’s top 30 farmhands in a quality system every season from 2020-22, according to Baseball America, with the outlet recently listing him as the O’s No. 9 minor league talent.
Primarily a corner fielder, Stowers’ calling card is his batting speed and power potential. BA rated his raw power as plus-plus (a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale), and he hit 27 homers and 23 doubles across three minor league tiers last season. Stowers has also drawn numerous walks, but has been knocked out in more than 30% of his plate appearances each stoppage, and Baseball America and Keith Law of the Athletic have raised questions about how often he swings on the pitches. inside the strike zone.
To Stowers’ credit, he’s reduced his strikeout rate so far in the 2022 campaign. Through 209 plate appearances at Triple-A Norfolk, he’s hit .253/.356/.545 with 12 homers and strikeout percentage at bat more manageable by 25.4%. It’s still a few points north of the league average, but it’s definitely an improvement from last season and it didn’t come at the expense of Stowers’ added impact.
Garcia, meanwhile, is heading to the majors for the first time in two years. The Honolulu native played with the Rockies and Giants between 2019 and 2020, pitching 16 ERA 7.31 innings between the division rivals. Garcia missed all of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery, and he was restricted to a minor league contract last winter. He has a 1.93 ERA over 18 2/3 innings between three tiers, knocking out an excellent 37.2% of opponents along the way.
The fact that Baltimore specified that Stowers and Garcia are replacements for COVID is remarkable, as they will each occupy a temporary spot on the 40-man roster. Both players can be delisted and sent back to Norfolk when Santander and Akin are eligible to return on Friday, and that seems the most likely course of action.
Stowers, in particular, should land a permanent spot on the roster in the relatively near future, however. He will need to be added to the 40-man early next offseason to keep him from getting caught in the Rule 5 draft, and Baltimore could bring him in for an extended look against the big league arms before too long being given its strength. high miners showing.
In other O news, the club announced that the infielder Chris Owings went through unclaimed release waivers. He is now a free agent. Baltimore picked Owings for assignment last week after a 0.107/0.254/0.143 start to the season.