Thursday, March 7, 2019

2019 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #9 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 245 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 campaign 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 season, 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, the lefty batter posted a .210 batting average with 27 HR and 75 RBI.  While the average wasn't the most outstanding, he performed well enough overall to be honored as a mid-season All-Star.

Last year, Cozens spent the majority of the season back with Lehigh Valley, collecting a .246 average with 21 homers and 58 RBI in 88 games there.  He made his big league debut with the Phillies, playing in 26 games, batting .158 with a homer and two RBI.

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 24-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 20 or more bases in a season three times in his minor league career.

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.

Cozens has performed well thus far in spring training this year.  He's batting .350 with two home runs and five RBI in nine Grapefruit League contests and is proving himself worthy of a roster spot at the top level. With options left, while others don't have any remaining, Cozens may begin the season in Triple-A.

With a crowded Phillies outfield, the ability to make room for Cozens may not be there, thus a trade could be his easiest path to time in the Majors.

Track this year's complete Phillies top prospects countdown by clicking this link.   

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