Taken with the Phillies 2nd round draft choice in 2012, Dylan Cozens has been an impressive young player since joining the organization.
In 50 games with the Gulf Coast League team after signing his first pro contract, the Arizona native sported a .255 average with five home runs and 24 RBI.
Last year with short-season Class A Williamsport the six-foot-six 235-pounder tallied a .265 average with nine homers and 35 homers in 68 games.
Assigned to a full-season club for the first time in his career, the 19-year-old Cozens will man right field for Greg Legg‘s Class A Lakewood BlueClaws this year. Through a week of the season, the lefty batting power hitter is batting .278 with two doubles and four runs driven in.
This week I spoke with Dylan about being drafted, his progress thus far as a pro, his coaches and more. Read ahead for that full interview with the Phils’ 19th ranked prospect.
-When you were drafted by the Phillies back in 2012, how were you tracking it and how did you celebrate?
I just watched on the computer, the day of the draft. I went out to a sports bar afterwards, had a bunch of people come out and celebrate and it was a good time. Pretty much anybody that was close to me could come on and come celebrate with me, so it was friends and family.
-Were you expecting the Phillies to be the team that drafted you or were they a surprise?
I was kind of expecting it. It was them and a couple other teams that I was pretty sure would be one of those three teams. So, the Phillies, I felt pretty strong about them.
-Who were the other teams that were most interested in you?
The Rangers and the Yankees.
-You performed well in the New York-Penn League last year. What thoughts can you share on your efforts there?
I think I did a decent job. I still had a lot of room to improve. I’m not happy, but I’m also not not happy with the way I played. So, I mean, I’m always looking to get better. I’m never satisfied. Just looking to have a better year this year.
-Do you think the competition there prepared you for the Sally League this year and when were you ready to take the step here?
I definitely feel like I’m ready for this step here. I felt like I was ready last year. Just, where ever you send me, I feel like I’m ready for it. If you move me up tomorrow, I feel like I’m going to go out there and compete and play well and hang with everybody. Last year, definitely I gained a lot of experience. This year’s going to be my first full year, so that’ll be a good learning experience to see what a full season is like, so I’m excited.
-So, you guys got the home opener out of the way here and you’ve been in town in Lakewood for a short period of time. What are your impression of the town thus far and breaking in the season here?
So far, from what I’ve seen, it’s a nice, cool, peaceful town. Looks like there’s a lot of good people who live here. I haven’t gotten to see a whole lot, but it seems like it’s going to be a cool place to spend the summer.
-Sometimes guys will come here with existing impressions of the Jersey shore. Is that the case for you?
(Laughs) I don’t know. I guess I’ll just have to go see for myself and see what the hype’s all about.
-Speaking of hype, there’s some buzz surrounding you. You’re a big guy, you hit for power, scouts like you. If you were going to scout yourself, what would you share with me?
I’d say I’m going to go out there every day and give my best. I’ve got some tools and the game’s going to bring those tools out. I’m just always going to give 100-percent and hustle.
-I also wanted to ask you, since you’ve been in the Phils system, what are your thoughts on the coaching staff and how they’ve helped you progress so far?
I love all those coaches. It’s a great coaching staff. They’ve all helped me a ton and they’re always there for me. Always saying positive things and positive criticism and they’ll get on me, if I need to be…they’re all great and I’m blessed to have such a great coaching staff.
-Your manager this year, Greg Legg, is often popular with the hitters. Thoughts on Greg specifically?
I love him. I mean, he’s probably one of my favorite managers as a baseball player in my whole life. He’s a cool guy off the field, on the field, in the clubhouse. He’s fun to be around, fun to play for. He knows what he’s doing and I feel like he’s a big time manager and I feel lucky to be playing for him.
-And you mentioned coach Greg being cool off the field, I wanted to ask a couple things about you away from the field before I let you go. What’s your favorite baseball movie and why?
I’d have to say The Sandlot. It’s just a classic.
-That’s surprising, because Trout is such a young guy, but, clearly, you are too. But he was a guy that was big before you signed and was doing things that impressed you?
Definitely! He’s kind of like how I want my career to go. Try to get up there soon and be a young player in the big leagues soon. The kid hustles, runs hard, makes crazy catches in the outfield, hits for power, hits for average, he does it all. That’s kind of what I’d like to model my game after.