This season hasn't been as kind to Dylan Cozens as 2016 was so far, but the Phillies' No. 9 prospect has plenty of time to get on track. Wednesday's game might be a good launching place.
Triple-A Lehigh Valley's slugging outfielder cranked a grand slam to right-center field to cap a seven-run fifth inning as the IronPigs topped the Columbus Clippers, 8-4. The blast was his third of the young season and his second in three games.
Video: IronPigs' Cozens hits a grand slam
Cozens started the season with just one hit -- a home run -- in his first 12 at-bats, but he struck out just once over that span after whiffing 186 times in 134 games last season. He then endured a five-game stretch in which he had three hits and 14 strikeouts in 19 at-bats.
Since then, the 2012 second-round pick has gone 3-for-14 to raise his slash line to .156/.240/.356, and his .356 slugging percentage is the highest it has been in 2017.
After striking out looking in the second and popping up to third base in the fourth against right-hander Adam Plutko (0-2), Cozens strolled to the plate with three runs already in and J.P. Crawford, Logan Moore and Taylor Featherston on the basepaths. Without the option of pitching around Cozens, Plutko's first pitch ended up in the bleachers.
Cozens is no stranger to slow starts, his OPS at the end of April in 2016 was .840 -- he finished at .941 for the season. In 2015, he sported a .623 OPS after the first month before finishing with a .762 mark.
Fellow "Bash Brother" Rhys Hoskins -- who finished second in the Minors to Cozens with 38 long balls last season -- also went deep, hitting a solo shot to left to lead off the IronPigs' fifth.
Lehigh Valley right-hander Ricardo Pinto (1-1) allowed three runs -- two earned -- on seven hits and one walk, striking out five, in six innings to earn his first win of the season.