Friday, August 5, 2016

Reading's Cozens displays impressive offense

Dylan Cozens, image- Jay Floyd

Following a three homer effort in which he also added a triple on Wednesday, slugging outfielder Dylan Cozens launched a pair of long balls and another triple to help the Double-A Reading Fightins notch their third straight win with a 12-8 victory over Bowie on Thursday.

The remarkable effort was capped off by Cozens' go-ahead grand slam in the 8th inning. It gave the 22-year-old 12 RBI in the two games and 101 RBI on the season.

As if the power numbers weren't enough, the two triples were hits that many other players might have only gotten two bases on and he even stole a base on Wednesday, giving him 18 in 19 attempts this year.

"It was some of the best two days of my life," Cozens said via text message.

The six-foot-six 235-pound lefty batter was the Phillies' 2nd round draft selection in 2012.

Cozens' teammate first baseman Rhys Hoskins kept pace with two homers of his own on Thursday, his 32nd and 33rd to stay one big fly in front of Cozens for the Eastern League lead.

With a month left in the regular season, Cozens and Hoskins have a solid shot at reaching Darin Ruf's Reading team single-season home run record of 38, which Ruf did in 2012.

According to Cozens, he and Hoskins are not actively egging one another on over the record chase. They're just enjoying the team's winning ways and having fun with their teammates.

For those fans calling for an immediate promotion to the next level or higher for Cozens, it's worth noting that his splits against righties and lefties aren't very balanced (.312/.395/.688 vs righties, .204/.286/.387 vs lefties) and the Phils' brass is likely looking for improvements against left-handers before they are convinced the strapping prospect has mastered the Eastern League.

Remarkably, Cozens and Hoskins weren't the only Reading players to mash two home runs in the team's most recent win. Outfielder Andrew Pullin, who was featured on Phillies Nation in recent days, also went deep twice to give him seven round-trippers since earning a promotion to Double-A.

Third baseman Mitch Walding also hit a homer for Reading in his Reading debut. Walding, who was the Florida State League All-Star Home Run Derby champion, batted .280 with 10 homers and 53 RBI in 100 games for Class A Advanced Clearwater this season.

Thursday's win took Reading's record to 74-37, which is best in professional baseball.
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