Prospect Profile: Ben Cowles, High-A Hudson Valley's hot hitter!
Shortstop/Second baseman/Third baseman
Draft: 10th round o the 2021 draft out of the University of Maryland
The Yankees have been successful in recent years with drafting middle infielders in the middle rounds. They have drafted Trevor Hauver, Josh Smith, Rob Refsnyder, and Cooper Bowman in recent years. All of these players have worked out nicely for them, mostly in terms of trade returns. Cowles is the latest in this line of players, and he has acquainted himself nicely to pro ball so far.
In 2021, Cowles had his best year in college at Maryland, where he hit .287/.409/.632/1.042 with 18 homeruns and six doubles. The Yankees then drafted him and he continued to be successful in the Yankees system. He finished the year with an .804 OPS in 36 games. Ben hit the ground running in 2021, starting in Low-A and hitting his way to a promotion about three quarters of the way through the season.
He hit a bit of a wall in High-A, but he didn’t have much time to adjust before the season was over. All in all, he hit .272/.375/.427/.802 with seven homeruns, 18 doubles, four triples, and 14 SB in 93 games. He struck out 103 times in his first full season as a professional.
Defensively Cowles can play any position in the infield. This will serve him well in the Yankees’ system, as he is surrounded by talented middle infielders in every direction he looks. He’s quick and has a good enough arm to make the throws from third base.
With the bat, Ben has good pop. He can hit the ball hard and is still lean and wiry. This is the season we should start to see him hit for more power. The key is that he needs to make more consistent contact. The strikeout numbers have always been a bit high. The most important thing for him to work on going forward is his bat to ball skills.
Cowles is a good athlete and has created a solid foundation in his first minor league season. If he can build off that and get incrementally better every year, he might just find himself in the major leagues in a year or two. Like any prospect at this level, he has some things he needs to work on. The tools are there for him to turn the corner with the right adjustments.
2023 is a big year for Ben. He began the year in High-A. It is already apparent that his power has increased significantly since last season. He has nearly matched his homerun total from all of last year in about 1/5th of the games. He currently sports a .269/.329/.537/.866 line with five homeruns, three doubles and a stolen base in 18 games. His strikeouts have increased so far, so that merits watching. He has been torridly hot in his past seven games. Ben is 11 for his last 25 (.440) with three homeruns and two doubles (.880 SLG) over his past seven games.
He should be taken seriously and represents another guy in the system with some talent that could take a leap forward this year. The Yankees have grown increasingly good at drafting and developing middle infielders in the middle of the draft. Let’s see if Benjamin Cowles becomes the latest example of this.