Monday, February 26, 2018

2018 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #10 OF Dylan Cozens

Dylan Cozens, image- Jay Floyd
Powerful outfield prospect Dylan Cozens hopes to shake the reputation of a free swinger and become a more complete hitter in order to fulfill his dream of reaching the major leagues.

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 chosen 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 Fightin Phils' postseason.

Cozens would spend a portion of the following off-season dealing with 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.

Over that off-season, Cozens played in the Dominican Winter League, tallying a .165 average with four homers in 25 games. His perceived troubling efforts there led to a notable conflict with a teammate.

In 2017 Cozens would make his Triple-A debut for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.  Through 135 games, he posted a .210 batting average with 27 HR and 75 RBI.  While the average wasn't the most outstanding, he was solid enough overall to be honored as a mid-season All-Star.

A fluid swing, considerable hand speed and plus raw power for Cozens should allow him to stand out as a future big league talent, though his pitch selection still needs work. His 380 strike outs in 1128 plate appearance over the past two regular seasons make it evident that there is plenty of room for improvement there.  Cutting down on the strike out rate will be critical for his future.

On the bases, the 23-year-old 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 two seasons ago in Double-A. He sports a 78% success rate in steal attempts as a professional and could 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 at all three spots. He covers a very good amount of ground on defense and has a rather strong arm in the outfield.

Despite having his path blocked by several talented outfielders such as Aaron Altherr, Odubel Herrera, Nick Williams and converted first baseman Rhys Hoskins at the top level, Cozens could get an opportunity to fill a void if one comes up for the Phillies for any reason.  Otherwise, it's possible the best option to reach the majors for Cozens could be a trade elsewhere.  With the ability to impact the score with one swing of the bat, Cozens would be a welcome addition to the middle of the lineup for many teams.

He'll likely start the 2018 campaign back in Lehigh Valley, if an injury or trade doesn't happen. 


You can keep track of this year's Phillies prospect countdown at this link.
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