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Phils' Cozens reacts to Bauman Award win
No. 6 prospect talks 40-homer season, trip to Dominican Republic
12/06/2016 11:39 AM ET
Dylan Cozens participated in the 2016 Eastern League Home Derby in Akron. (David Monseur/MiLB.com)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Dylan Cozens might be done with the 2016 season, but the 2016 season had one last thing for him Monday.

The Phillies' No. 6 prospect was given the Joe Bauman Home Run Award on Monday as part of the Minor League Baseball awards luncheon at this year's Winter Meetings. Cozens hit 40 homers for Double-A Reading during the season, earning an $8,000 check -- $200 for each long ball -- as his reward.

"It feels great," Cozens said after the luncheon. "Just kind of reflect on the season I had. What kind of season we had as a team. I'm definitely honored to get the award."

This isn't Cozens' first award of the season. MiLB.com named him the winner of the Best Offensive Player MiLBY award back in October, and he was also named a Phillies Organization All-Star last week, taking one of the system's three spots in the outfield. Both came as a result of the 22-year-old leading the Minors in not only homers but also extra-base hits (81) and RBIs (125) while hitting .276/.350/.591 with 21 stolen bases for Double-A Reading.

The left-handed slugger had to fend off Fightin Phils teammate and No. 12 Phillies prospect Rhys Hoskins to take the Bauman Award. The two were neck-in-neck on the Minor League home run leaderboard for most of the summer before Cozens pulled away at the end with his 40 to Hoskins' 38. No one else in the Minors hit more than 36 during the 2016 campaign.

"It's amazing to have a teammate like that, one that you're competing with for the same award," Cozens said of Hoskins. "I also feel like he played a really big part in me getting the award with him hitting behind me, giving me some protection and helping with the way some pitchers pitched to me. It's a great honor. I'm sure he's proud of me as well."

Cozens' season didn't quite end with Reading's semifinal loss in the Eastern League playoffs, either. Starting on Oct. 20, the Arizona native traveled to the Dominican Winter League to play for Aguilas Cibaenas, finishing his run of 25 games on Nov. 21. Over that span, Cozens, who made winter league journeys to Australia and Puerto Rico each of the past two offseason, hit .165/.265/.353 with four homers, four doubles and 10 RBIs. Despite the drop in short-term performance, he noted his focus was in facing more left-handed pitching (against whom he hit all four of his home runs over 38 at-bats) and improving his walk rate (which rose from 10.4 percent at Reading to 12.4 in the much smaller Dominican sample.

"It was different, a completely different game," he said. "You're facing a lot of guys you've never seen before. You don't have the luxury of video like you do in the States. So it was a lot different. Didn't know what to expect. But it was a good experience, played against a lot of older guys. It was a lot of fun."

Cozens' trip to the Dominican wasn't all positive as reports came out that he was involved in an altercation with Aguilas teammate Boog Powell, though the former noted Monday that the incident was overblown, using the term "boys will be boys," and that the two became friends afterwards.

What, of course, still stands out about that trip to the Caribbean remains Cozens' power. Despite not having played in the Dominican Republic in two weeks, the powerful Phillies prospect remains tied atop the circuit's home run leaderboard with his four long balls. Perhaps to no one's surprise, he's tied with Hoskins, who went deep four times for Gigantes del Cibao during his time in the winter league.

"It's tough to put the ball out there with the big fields and the humidity," he said. "It's crazy. I can't believe no one else is hitting home runs since I left. But that's cool."

The next step for Cozens won't come for a few more months. The Phillies announced before the Rule 5 deadline that they were adding him to the 40-man roster, and though it's likely he'll start 2017 at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, he's excited at the prospect of being one step closer to the City of Brotherly Love, when he arrives at Major League camp in early February.

"It was very short," he said. "I was just talking to [Phillies director of player development] Joe Jordan, and he congratulated me. I didn't have very good service, so it was pretty short. Definitely a happy moment for me. ... The 40-man roster, there's no restrictions. Whenever you're ready, they're not going to hold you back. They're going to let you go."

Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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