Over the past few weeks, we have been talking about the comments made by current Phillies players regarding the trade deadline. Both the fans and Ruben Amaro are aware that prospects need to be acquired and the farm system needs to be strengthened. Maikel Franco and JP Crawford are the two most mentioned prospects, but outfielder Dylan Cozens is starting to grab people's attention, especially after last night's game.
Ranked as the #8 prospect in the Phillies organization by MLB.com, Cozens was selected in the second round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona. Earlier this season, I wrote a piece on Cozens, who at that time, was still trying to find his comfort level with Lakewood. July has been some what of a breakout month for Cozens, who is hitting .377 (20-f0r-53) with two doubles, four homers and nine RBI's since July 1st.
Last night, in Lakewood's 7-0 victory over the Hickory Crawdads, Cozens went deep twice during a 4-for-5, three RBI night at the plate. Cozens spoke to MiLB.com's Kelsie Heneghan about some adjustments he made to his swing, specifically making it shorter and laying off the aggressiveness. That gave him the ability to hit his first homer of the night to the opposite field, which was an exciting moment for the 20-year-old Phillies prospect.
"I'm just staying back and not missing the fastball and staying back on the off-speed pitches, not getting too overaggressive," he said. "First part of the season, I was getting too aggressive; it's hard not to be too aggressive. It took a while for it to really click. Things like that don't really happen overnight; it's a process."
"First pitch was a fastball away and I took it the other way to left field over the fence, and I was pretty excited about that. I just ran around the bases," he said. "Always fun to even just have one homer, so two is really exciting."
There is no doubting the power that lies in Cozens swing, as he has hit 13 homers this season for the Blueclaws to go along with 18 doubles, three triples and 41 RBI's. In my earlier story on Cozens, I mentioned his high strikeout rate. Obviously with a guy that has raw power, you are going to see more swinging and missing, but Cozens has improved on that as well. He has struck out 98 times and taken just 29 bases on balls, but in June he showed more patience, walking 13 times through the month. In addition to the power he brings to the plate, Cozens is also speedy. He has swiped 16 bases this season, getting caught just three times.
His recent power surge has raised his average to .246 on the season after hitting just .188 in June. When Cozens shortened his swing, things clicked, leading to the previously mentioned .377 average in July.
"I feel like I can definitely handle the pitching in this league, and maybe next year I think I'll be ready for the next level. I just need to keep putting the work in and keep putting up the big numbers," Cozens said. "Maybe the end of this year I'll do well and it will make up for the low numbers early in the season."
He added another home run in the 6th inning last night and an RBI single in the 9th. Cozens leads the Blue Claws with 13 home runs on the year.
Brandon Apter, Publishing Editor for Philliedelphia.com