Orioles Spring Training Update: Colton Cowser, Coby Mayo, Who's Hot?

Some surprising names have stood out early this spring. Could any of them actually make the roster?

Los Angeles Dodgers v Baltimore Orioles
Los Angeles Dodgers v Baltimore Orioles / Rob Carr/GettyImages

The spring season is in full swing, and the Baltimore Orioles are looking good. Coming off their first division championship since 2014, expectations for the O’s are high. After an exciting offseason, the Orioles started the spring with some bad news on the injury front, but still have plenty of healthy talent ready to compete.

I am aware that no team has ever won a World Series in spring training, but success at any level can be enjoyed. Heading into Saturday's game agains the New York Yankees, the Birds are 7-1 this spring with two walk-off wins, and have gotten big contributions from some surprising players. Here are three players who've been hot and three who who are not.

Orioles Spring Training Update

Which Orioles are hot?

Colton Cowser: Cowser started the spring season off with a bang by hitting a walk-off home run in the first spring training game, and he's yet to cool down. He's slashing .375/.615/1.125 with a 1.740 OPS so far. Cowser has powered two home runs, stolen a base and showed good knowledge of the strike zone, drawing three walks in 11 plate appearances. The top prospect is making an early push to claim the fourth outfield spot in a crowded Baltimore outfield.

Jorge Mateo: In 2023, Mateo started off the season on a tear, and was one of the most productive players in baseball for the month of April. He has started this spring in much the same manner. Mateo has had a hit in three of his four games so far, and is slashing .400/.455/1.100. He has also shown improved plate discipline, striking out only three times in 11 plate appearances. After having a power outage after April, Mateo's power stroke returned this past Thursday when he homered twice against the Pirates. Mateo is set to play a super utility role for the O's this season, and would be a huge boost to the team if he can continue to perform at a higher level.

Coby Mayo: At only 22 years old, Mayo is appearing in his third spring training and has a real shot at making it onto the team. He's slashing .417/.563/.667 with a 1.230 OPS, and in only six games, he has produced almost identical numbers to his 2023 spring training, where he appeared in 15 games. Known for his power, Mayo has yet to homer this spring, but he does have three doubles and is obviously seeing the ball well. Mayo has a tougher road to travel because he's not currently on the 40-man roster, but the big righty might be just what the Orioles lineup needs.

Which Orioles Are...Not?

Heston Kjerstad: After having a great showing at spring training last season, Kjerstad was able to climb from Double-A to the majors and showed a bit of that prodigious power he has become known for. Kjerstad has just two hits, both singles, in 14 plate appearances so far this spring. Not exactly what the Birds are hoping for. With about four weeks left until the regular season starts, there is still plenty of time for the young slugger to turn things around. Even if he does start the season in Triple-A, it is only a matter of time before Kjerstad starts making his mark on Eutaw St. with his monster home runs.

Ryan McKenna: McKenna is one of the players that draws the most conversation from Orioles fans. Everyone either loves him or hates him. He has been a solid fourth outfielder for the O's as an elite defender that can play all three spots, he can pinch run, he can steal bases and he plays hard every day, all while being bounced between the majors and minors. The biggest knock on McKenna is that he has never produced much offensively and he is now out of minor-league options. He's hitless this spring in 10 at-bats, while only drawing one walk. With Cowser and Kjerstad likely to make impacts on the Orioles this season, McKenna's time in Baltimore might be running out.

Ryan Mountcastle: Mountcastle just got his first hit, an RBI single, in Friday's game against the Atlanta Braves. He's been a streaky hitter in his career, so that may just be the start. Mountcastle has been a key member in the heart of the O's lineup for years, and he's not in danger of losing that spot, but he is off to a slow start this spring. We all know he mashes lefties ,and with the O's likely to face Los Angeles Angels left hander Tyler Anderson on Opening Day, it's a safe bet that Mountcastle will be there.


Two Orioles that could not be left out of this article are Tyler Nevin and Daniel Johnson. While neither is really expected to have much of an impact on the major league roster, they have been the hottest hitters on the team this spring. They are among the team leaders in every offensive category, and have been better than many expected them to be. The Orioles did have some significant injuries last season, and the acquisitions of Johnson and Nevin are looking better everyday. GM Mike Elias loves having players with major league experience in the minors, and these guys will be ready if called upon.

As Opening Day gets closer, the final roster will start to take shape. The Orioles currently have 39 of the 40 roster spots filled, and must make tough decisions about players like Mayo and Jackson Holliday, who has started to perform better as of late. It is still early, so nobody should read too far into anyone being hot or cold just yet. Manager Brandon Hyde loves to have versatile players, and he mixes and matches frequently, dipping into the franchise's minor league talent. The Birds' next game is on Saturday at 1:00PM against the New York Yankees, and they will look to continue their winning ways.