Phillies outfield prospect Dylan Cozens, who this season became the first Eastern League player in 35 years to hit 40 home runs, was named the Eastern League MVP on Wednesday.
Cozens had a remarkable, eye-opening season for Double A Reading. He hit .276/.350/.591 with 40 homers, 38 doubles and 125 RBIs. He helped lead Reading to a league-best 89-52 record.
The legitimacy of Cozens' power numbers has been questioned because of Reading's hitter-friendly ballpark. FirstEnergy Stadium plays small, and the wind in that area of Pennsylvania causes routine flyballs to travel through the air. Cozens hit 29 of his 40 homers at home and slugged 303 points higher than he did on the road.
Despite the huge numbers, Cozens' flaws were exposed this season and he'll have an offseason to correct them. He struck out 186 times, an egregiously high total at Double A. A left-handed hitter, he also hit just .197 against lefties.
But still, it was a season for the ages for Cozens, who put himself on the radar of the Phillies, the league and outlets that rank prospects. He'll likely be a Top 100 prospect next spring and earn an invite to big-league camp.
Cozens is the second straight Reading player to win Eastern League MVP, following Brock Stassi last season.
Two of Cozens' teammates, Jorge Alfaro and Rhys Hoskins, had MVP-caliber seasons themselves. Alfaro hit .285/.325/.458 with 15 homers, 67 RBIs and strong work behind the plate. Hoskins hit .281/.377/.566 with 38 homers and 116 RBIs. Unlike Cozens, Hoskins cut down on his strikeouts as the season wore on and did not have significant splits.
Hoskins was named Eastern League Rookie of the Year, and Reading manager Dusty Wathan won Manager of the Year.