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Another Orioles prospect joins the mix: Kyle Stowers promoted, Brett Phillips DFA’d

Dubbed “The Blonde Bomber” by Ben McDonald, Kyle Stowers is about to get an extended MLB look.

MLB: JUN 13 Orioles at Blue Jays Photo by Gavin Napier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Another of the Orioles prospects who has been performing well for Triple-A Norfolk has arrived. The Gunnar Henderson Fan Club will have to keep waiting, but the Kyle Stowers Fan Club can take a victory lap today, as the team has selected his contract from Norfolk. Stowers is now on the 40-man roster in regular circumstances; his short stint in Toronto was as a replacement for an unvaccinated player.

Stowers’s promotion was part of a flurry of moves by the Orioles. They also recalled infielder Richie Martin and pitcher Nick Vespi. In this same set of moves, Brett Phillips was designated for assignment. Space was cleared on the 26-man roster for the other players as Logan Gillaspie was optioned back to Norfolk and Terrin Vavra was placed on the paternity list.

Note that, due to the Phillips DFA, the Orioles 40-man roster still stands at 39 players. There’s room to add someone - Henderson in another week or two, if you’re that kind of optimist. The extra space was created a little while ago when the Orioles quietly waived Rylan Bannon and lost him on waivers to the Dodgers. The Dodgers have subsequently DFA’d Bannon, who was then claimed by Atlanta.

It’s about time to see Stowers. The 24-year-old lefty batting outfielder doesn’t seem to have had a whole lot left to prove at Triple-A and that’s been the case for a while. He leads all Orioles minor leaguers in home runs with 19. The big knock on him has always been strikeouts and he’s improved that substantially. Last year, across three levels, he struck out in 32.2% of plate appearances. In 2022, Stowers has cut that to 25.6%. It’s a big difference.

You can’t just point at a guy’s Triple-A performance and assume he’ll be able to duplicate that in MLB. Stowers has been batting .264/.357/.527 in 95 games for the Tides. The Orioles lineup could certainly use some help with the way so many players have been scuffling for the last month. Hopefully, Stowers can help provide that jolt.

How exactly the Orioles will fit him into the lineup is something we’ll have to see as the days go along. Cedric Mullins, Austin Hays, and Anthony Santander have had the outfield spots covered most of the season. Perhaps Santander can DH more often, giving Stowers, who’s athletic enough to play center field some but is a corner outfielder more often, a chance to upgrade their defense. Santander rates at 4th percentile in Statcast’s Outs Above Average. The less we see Santander in the field from here on, the better.

Phillips seemed like a nice guy with a nice attitude but he just didn’t bring much tangible to the roster. I don’t really know why Elias brought him on board in the first place and now that we’re about three weeks later I guess Elias doesn’t know why he did either. Ryan McKenna already had the 4th outfielder/late inning pinch runner or defensive replacement role taken care of. Phillips could theoretically have been a lefty bench bat and additional pinch runner if he was capable of hitting much, but he wasn’t.

Stowers has already got the MLB debut and first hit out of the way, since he played in two games of the Toronto series earlier in the season. He’s still looking for his first MLB dinger. Now that he’s getting to play in Baltimore, hopefully the flag court above the out-of-town scoreboard presents a nice target for him this weekend against a variety of Red Sox jabronis and beyond.