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December 05, 2016

Cozens leaves Winter Meetings with big cash prize, visions of Phillies outfield

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – With 20 shopping days left until Christmas Day, Dylan Cozens was in pretty good shape as he walked out of the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center Monday afternoon.

He had a check for $8,000 in his hip pocket.

Cozens, the Phillies 22-year-old power hitting outfield prospect, was honored at baseball’s Winter Meetings with the Joe Bauman Award. The honor is presented annually at baseball’s biggest offseason event to the top regular season home run hitter in all of the domestic-based minor leagues each season.

Cozens set a Double-A Reading record with 40 home runs in 134 games with Reading this summer. Each home run was worth $200 toward the Bauman Award.

Upon receiving the award at an awards luncheon on Monday, Cozens joked in his acceptance speech that it was more than he made all season in the Eastern League.

“I don’t know if that’s true, it’s a joke,” Cozens said with a laugh. “Not to be taken too seriously. But, yeah, $8,000 will make shopping this holiday season a lot easier.”

The award was a fine way to cap an unforgettable 2016 for Cozens, the Phillies second round pick in the 2012 draft.

He teamed up with Reading first baseman Rhys Hoskins (who also beat the club’s previous franchise home run record) to put on a near-nightly home run derby at FirstEnergy Stadium this summer. He was added to the Phillies’ 40-man roster last month, moving home one step closer to a spot in the major league outfield.

And then there was the, well, forgettable incident last month when he reportedly got into a fight with a teammate while playing in the Dominican Winter League. According to the report, Boog Powell, among others, was teasing Cozens about his struggle to hit breaking balls, and the 6-6, 235-pound Cozens apparently hit Powell hard enough that the Seattle Mariners prospect required five stitches.

“Just a little boys-being-boys type thing,” Cozens explained on Monday. “I feel like it was blown out of proportion like almost everything is these days. But, after it happened we became good friends. It was more the level of respect there and I’d say we’re still friends, so it’s good.”

Cozens hit .165 (14-for-85) with four home runs, 32 strikeouts, and 12 walks in 25 games in the Dominican Winter League. He now plans on resting up and bulking up in the next two months before reporting to his first major league camp in Clearwater, Fla.

Cozens, who hit .276 with a .350 OBP to go along with his 40 home runs and 38 doubles at Reading, is likely to begin the 2017 season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

“I just go into camp looking to keep getting better,” Cozens said. “Obviously I want to be there as soon as possible but it’s not my call. I’m just going to go out there and get better, turn some heads, make some people notice and hopefully get called up as soon as possible.”

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