Saturday, March 4, 2017

2017 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #8 OF Dylan Cozens

Dylan Cozens image- Jay Floyd
Outfielder Dylan Cozens entered last season as one of the Phillies' most underrated prospects.  A huge offensive year at the Double-A level helped the lefty batting slugger begin to garner some much deserved attention.

At six feet six inches tall and weighing 235 pounds, Cozens has an imposing frame that was well-suited for the grid iron, as he was a two-sport star in his high school days. 

After he was selected in the 2nd round of the 2012 draft, Cozens debuted in the minors with the rookie level Gulf Coast Phillies. In 50 games there, he notched 15 doubles, two triples, five homers and 24 RBI. Cozens also participated in the Florida Instructional League in 2012.

Following a productive spring in 2013, Cozens was retained in extended spring training and made his official season debut with the Class A short-season Williamsport Crosscutters when they began playing in June. Cozens was among the league leaders in many categories that year, placing second in doubles (19), extra base hits (30), and runs (50) while ranking third in slugging percentage (.469). Additionally, he batted .265 with two triples, nine home runs and 35 RBI in 68 games for the 'Cutters.

In 2014, with Class A Lakewood, Cozens had a solid campaign, posting a .248 average with 16 homers and 62 RBI.  He followed that up with a great effort in the Australian Baseball League in the off-season that followed. In 45 games with Melbourne, he tallied a .255 average with eight home runs, 23 RBI and 11 steals.

The 2015 season saw Cozens opening his year with the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers.  In 96 games in the Florida State League, he sported a 282/.335/.411 slash line.  Despite missing a month with a foot sprain, he earned a promotion to Double-A Reading late in the season and found the transition easy.  He batted .350 with three homers and nine RBI in 11 regular season games before continuing to contribute into the Fightins' postseason.

Cozens would spend a portion of the following off-season dealing an arm injury, but he joined the Indios in the Roberto Clemente League in Puerto Rico for a stretch.  In 26 regular season games there, he posted a .275 average with three home runs and nine RBI.

The ailment did not present any issues for his 2016 campaign, which saw Cozens return to Reading and earn the Eastern League's Most Valuable Player Award.  In 134 games for the Fightin Phils, the Arizona native posted a .276 batting average while leading the league in both home runs (40) and RBI (125).  He also was honored as the co-recipient of the Paul Owens Award, an annual nod for the top position player and pitcher in the Phillies developmental ranks. 

A fluid swing, considerable hand speed and plus raw power for Cozens should have him as a sure thing to reach the majors, though his pitch selection still needs work. His 186 strike outs in 586 plate appearance show much room for improvement there.  His coaches cite that he's still learning how to hit, so there is still plenty of patience related to those whiffs at this stage in his development.

On the bases, Cozens isn't as slow as some might expect of a big-bodied masher type. He has proven to be a threat on the base paths, swiping 21 bags in 22 attempts last season. He sports a 79% success rate in steal attempts as a professional and should continue to contribute with his slept-on speed.

Cozens, who has played a majority of his games in right field, has been praised for his adaptability and is a very capable fielder. He covers a very good amount of ground on defense and has a rather strong arm in the outfield.  

Look for Cozens, to open this coming season at the Triple-A level while he continues to work closely with his coaches, focusing on making a splash at the big league level in the near future.





You can follow along with this year’s Phillies prospects countdown by clicking this link.
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