With spring winding down and the new baseball season on the horizon, players have come north for the final legs of the exhibition schedule. This weekend, a pair of top Phillies minor league outfielders, Dylan Cozens and Roman Quinn spoke with members of the media about various topics including opening the new season back with the Double-A Fightins.
Cozens, the Phillies 16th ranked prospect, joined Reading late last season and proved to be a worthy contributor, helping the team reach the Eastern League finals. The powerful lefty batting 21-year-old posted a .350 average with three homers and nine RBI in 11 games after his promotion from High A Clearwater. Overall with the Threshers, prior to moving up, Cozens, the Phils’ 2nd round draft selection in 2012, posted a .282 average with five home runs and 46 RBI in 96 games.
Quinn, missed time last season following a quad injury, but posted excellent numbers (.306 avg, four HR, 15 RBI, 29 SB in 58 games) prior to being sidelined. The 22-year-old was the Phillies’ 2nd round draft choice in 2011. Quinn is the 6th ranked Phils prospect heading into the season.
Reading ahead for full quotes from two-thirds of Reading’s outfield heading into the 2016 campaign.
On his spring season and getting a chance to impress-
Spring training was good. Playing in Clearwater was a lot of fun, then I got to come up here (for the Futures games). It’s good to be back here for another season. I’m looking forward to having a good team and having a lot of fun this year.
Speaking about playing in parks at higher levels-
It’s always kind of nice to get your feet wet a little bit and come and check the place out a bit. So, it’s going to be nice for us to play in Philly, so that when we do get called up, if we get called up, we’ll have a feel for it. That’s kind of how it was for me in Reading, to know where stuff is, know how the field plays, stuff like that.
On contributing to Reading’s success last year and translating that into this season-
Definitely, I feel confident heading into the season and we’re gonna do some damage then maybe head up to Philly pretty soon.
Talking about which big league Phillies might be guys that he could watch and learn from-
I’d say Maikel Franco is a big guy to look at, look up to kind of. I’ve seen him play throughout the minor leagues. I’ve played with him a couple times. Um, same with Aaron Nola. Just they’ve both got good heads on their shoulders, hard work ethic, stuff like that, I just try to do what they do pretty much.
Commenting on his off-season work-
I did a lot of running and speed training instead of just banging the weights. I lost probably five or 10 pounds since last year. I feel faster, a little looser. I did a lot of stretching, trying not to be so tight. But, pretty much the same other than that.
I did a lot of sprints, stuff like that. A lot of speed work.
Playfully talking about if he thinks the speed work will translate to the base paths this season-
Oh yeah, definitely. Maybe try to get 30 (steals) this year instead of 20 in previous years. We’ll see. Maybe 40, I don’t know. We’ll see if it paid off.
Remarks about how he feels this year compared to previous seasons-
I feel like flexibility was a big thing for me, where last year I kind of started out the year real tight…and I wasn’t really hitting balls true. And I feel like now that I’m loose, I can kind of spin the balls better and I don’t feel like it’s effecting my power at all. If anything, I feel like I’ve got more power.
Speaking on the Phillies Futures Series and playing against the big leaguers-
It’s great. It’s nice for us to hang around the big league guys, see how they go about their business, get a chance to compete against them, kind of see where we’re at. Hopefully, we can beat them. That would give us a lot of confidence going into the year, but it’s awesome. Getting to play in Citizens Bank Park is huge too, because to see how the ball comes in there and how the field plays before we get called up is a huge advantage.
Comments on the differences last year coming to Double-A from Clearwater-
I thought the umpires were better (in Double-A). I thought the strike zone was a little better and maybe the ball parks definitely were better than before, as in they’re nicer, more hitter friendly. I can up at the right time of the year I guess. It was fun. I felt like I was having fun out there. I wasn’t pressing, everything was going good.
Talking about team chemistry with the Reading club-
It’s always good, you know, when you’re winning too. That also, that helps. Most winning teams have good chemistry. They are very few winning teams out there that don’t get along or they’re fighting. I feel that is a big part of being a winning team too.
Asked about how he feels health wise-
Real good. I feel healthy. Ready to get going.
I mean I’ve been feeling healthy since the last time I tore my quad. Feeling good. Ready to get back on the field. I’m 100-percent. I’m ready.
Speaking about if he could have rejoined Reading’s active roster for their playoff run last year following the quad tear in mid-June-
No, I couldn’t have. I couldn’t have played. I wasn’t quite ready yet. I wasn’t up to 100-percent. I was increasing my speed daily, but I wasn’t quite 100-percent yet.
Commenting on if it was tough to be out of action while his teammates were making a big playoff run last year-
It definitely was, man. It definitely was. Especially because I’m a competitor. I wanted to go out there and compete with them. But they did great without me.
On the Futures Series intrasquad games with the prospects taking on the big league team-
I mean, it’s going to be a great experience. I think we’re all going to go out there and have fun. Especially coming and playing in Reading. I mean some of these guys have played in Reading, so it’s pretty cool.
Speaking about a chance to play in an exhibition game at Citizens Bank Park-
That’s going to be fun. That’s a great ball park. It’s pretty big too and I’m excited to see the fans there.
Talking about his efforts to get ready to play this spring-
I felt real good during the spring. I was working on some things. I was working on my approach from the left and right side and I feel real good.
Defensively I felt great too. I was working on my routes and my communication out there, trying to move around as much as I could and I felt real good.
Speaking on if he made the impression he hoped to make while playing with the big league team this spring-
I think I did. I improved a lot since last year, so I definitely think I did.
Commenting on if he’s worried about being injury prone after missing time in multiple seasons with significant setbacks-
No, I’m not worried at all. Some of the injuries I had was freaky. Freak injuries and we played an 18-inning game and we was playing a lot of extra-inning games last year before I got hurt and I’m not concerned at all.
Answering if he was surprised to open the season with Reading again-
I wasn’t surprised at all. I was looking at starting in Double-A anyway.
Speaking about what he focused on this spring-
Just go about your business the right way. Carry yourself the right way. Make a good impression on all the coaches out there, because they had yet to see me play. I was developing a good routine with those guys and I learned a lot from them.
Thoughts on which Phillies he was able to learn from the most-
Emmanuel Burriss, Cedric Hunter, Freddy Galvis, Andres Blanco, there was a lot of guys, a lot of guys I talked to. Ryan Howard. I would just talk to them about how to handle your business a certain way.
Commenting about which player on the Futures roster he was excited to see play-
(Scott) Kingery. I heard he was a real good player, man. A really good second baseman. So, I’m excited to see him play.