Wednesday, April 12, 2017

PhoulBallz Interview: IronPigs OF Dylan Cozens

Dylan Cozens, image- Jay Floyd
One of the Phillies' most promising prospects is slugging outfielder Dylan Cozens.  After leading the Double-A Eastern League in both home runs (40) and RBI (125) last year, the 22-year-old lefty batter is set to be an offensive threat for the Triple-A Lehigh Valey IronPigs.

Last week I sat down with Dylan, who discussed his time in big league spring training this year, a conflict with teammate Boog Powell in last off-season's Dominican Winter League, his confidence level in his team and plenty more.  Read ahead for the full interview.


-What can you share about your success in the Grapefruit League this year?


It was a lot of fun. I wouldn’t say that it was extremely successful, but I feel like I was successful in showing, you know, who I am as a person and a player. So, that was a lot fun, kind of showing what I can do and stuff like that. It’s hard to show off in a short amount of time like that, but it was tons of fun, being around the big guys and kind of seeing how things are done over there.

-You played off-season ball in the Dominican Republic.  How do you feel that can help you going forward?

It was good. It’s always-- for me, I feel like I went there and I didn’t play good. I failed. And for me, failure is just another reason for motivation. It shows me really what I have to work on and like I said it’s just another way to motivate me and I feel like I always bounce back from something like that, so it was good to be able to go over there and see a different sort of game. It’s played completely different than over here in the United States. You don’t have as much video, stuff like that. Just parts of the game that you normally have over here. To be able to go over there and experience that and see other guys succeed and what they do to succeed and just continue to get better. It was huge.

-While you were there, I know you had a bit of a conflict.  Teammates checking a teammate, I’m just trying to reference it in a cool way as opposed to (saying) "getting in someone’s face" or something like that, but if a teammate has an issue and tried to check a teammate, is that type of feedback beneficial? You’re talking about the failure and learning from the fall, so to speak, can that type of thing where it’s conflict with a teammate where it’s a reality check help the player?


That’s an interesting question. That’s a pretty good question actually. Um, all I can say is after the incident with me and him we became good friends. There was an extreme level of respect that was established and, you know, we continue to keep in touch today and play video games together. I got nothing against the guy. I think he’s a good dude. And I think if we were to play on the same team or against each other we would continue to be friends and have a good relationship. Um, yeah, that was it.

-Well, what I’m getting at there is knowing that a teammate has a concern for the other teammates, like, does that help you? Because you can hear a guy writing an article, you can hear a coach say something, but when a teammates says, “Damn it, guy! What’s up with this?” Does that make a different impression than the article or the coach that says it, when it’s from the same guy who’s doing the job?


Yeah, well I mean as far as that case, the article or articles that came out: completely not true at all. And the only people that really know what happened are me and him and a few people that were close around. Everybody else wants to speculate and say what they thought happened and that’s how you get these articles. That made me sound, you know, terrible, and kind of unfair to me and him, but, I mean, that’s part of it and we’ve got to realize that, you know, there’s better ways to handle issues, obviously. Especially, don’t do it in a place where there’s people watching.

-I’m sorry to keep asking about it, I don’t know that I’m asking it well enough. So, what I’m talking about is just what the concern was. So, if the concern was with an aspect of the person’s game and I’m the teammate and I say, “Hey teammate! Why don’t you get on this better?” or whatever. Is the impression different as criticism from a teammate versus criticism from a media person or a coach?


I think yeah, absolutely. Because that’s who you’re playing with every day. I feel like the writers kind of give it to us enough and you know there’s-- just about on every single team I’ve been on, there’s been conflicts between teammates and people have problems with other people and it’s how you handle it is what matters. There’s a right way and there’s a wrong way. Obviously, the wrong ways can end up turning into right ways, it just depends on how it all goes down. But at the end of the day there has to be a level of respect for all teammates I believe. I don’t think all teammates have to like each other, ‘cause that’s never going to happen. No matter what clubhouse you go in, that’s almost impossible to find a team where every single person likes each other as a person or friend. The biggest thing is to just go out there and when you are in the locker room and when you are on the field and when you are between those lines to be the best teammate you can be. You don’t have to like the guy you don’t have to agree with his life choices or morals, but you have to go out there and bust your ass and try to be the best teammate you can, try to win ball games, try to make him feel like you’re doing everything you can do to go out there and win. That’s most important.


-How about this team that’s here? You’ve got a collection of guys that you went to the postseason with last year down a level at Double-A, and it’s Jorge Alfaro and Roman Quinn and J.P. Crawford and these guys and, obviously, you and Rhys Hoskins were kind of leaders of the Reading club last year. Do you guys expect to win when you take the field?

Absolutely. I feel like we’ve got the most talented lineup out there. Period. I, obviously, expect to win every single ballgame. I know that’s not realistic, but that’s at least how I feel. I take one game at a time and if we go out there and play our best, I don’t feel that anybody can beat us.

-Charlie Hayes was a bit of a surprise to some to be joining the IronPigs roster, as he was hired to coach with the Gulf Coast League team, but he’s here since that group doesn’t get going until June. What are your thoughts on Charlie so far?


He’s awesome. He’s always looking to work. Fun to be around, he makes you laugh. And he said his door’s always open, so if you ever want to work, just go in and grab him and he’s ready to sit there and work on stuff in the cage with you, no matter how long. It’s good to have a guy like that.

-Being around the big club this year…teammate wise or coach wise what there anyone that made a big impression on you or someone you picked up a lot from?


I feel like kind of just-- I wasn’t really talked to or coached up that much. They kind of just sat back and let me do my thing. So, I mean, all the coaches were extremely nice to me and I can see why they are there. They made it a lot of fun. We worked hard. Same thing with the players; just lead by example. That’s how it was. A good guy to follow there, I think, was Andres Blanco. He kind of…he really is good at what he does and he’s a good teammate, has a great work ethic, goes out there and plays well.

-I wanted to ask you about your expectations for yourself this year. Is there any goal you’ve set for yourself or anything like that?

I just want to get better every single day. Be closer to that full potential that I think that I have.
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