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Could Dylan Cozens be the next Aaron Judge?

If you’re a baseball fan there’s no doubt you’ve heard about what Aaron Judge is doing for the New York Yankees. For one, did you see him last night?

He’s hitting monster home runs, hitting them often and contributing in a massive way to the team’s success. So let’s ask the question as Phillies fans: Where’s our Aaron Judge?

He may be hitting bombs of his own right now in triple-A. He may have set an Eastern League record for home runs last year while at double-A Reading. Yes, Dylan Cozens has the potential to be that guy.

Judge is proving on a somewhat daily basis that he can hit major league pitching for power. It’s something that Cozens will someday soon have to prove as well. When Judge was in the minors he played in the same leagues as Cozens, so we have a bit of an apples-to-apples comparison we can make, both at the double-A and the triple-A levels.

One thing to keep in mind though is that Cozens played last year in one of the most prolific home run ballparks in professional baseball, Reading’s First Energy Ballpark.

Another thing to consider is that Judge went to college while Cozens was drafted right out of high school, so naturally Judge moved from the lower minors to the upper minors in quick succession while Cozens toiled his way up, but both spent some significant time in the Eastern and International leagues. That’s what we’ll compare.

AA Aaron Judge Dylan Cozens
Age 23 21, 22
Games 63 145
Plate Appearances 280 630
HR 12 43
PA per HR 23.33 14.65
SO 70 193
SO % 25% 30.63%
BB 24 64
BB % 8.57% 10.15%
BB/K Rate 0.34 0.33
AVG .284 .282
Age 23, 24 23
Games 154 81
Plate Appearances 670 330
HR 27 18
PA per HR 24.81 18.33
SO 172 105
SO % 25.67% 31.81%
BB 76 30
BB % 7.83% 9.09%
BB/K Rate 0.44 0.29
AVG .252 .236

As you can see, through the upper levels of the minors these guys were relatively similar. Judge increased his BB/K rate by about 10 percent from double- to triple-A while Cozens decreased his by 4 percent. Cozens’ already high strikeout rate has increased with his level jump while his walk rate has decreased, and while the same thing happened with Judge as he moved up a level, it happened on a smaller scale.

Judge has made a tremendous improvement this year, his MLB rookie season, with regards to walking. He’s currently walking in 16.79 percent of his 2017 plate appearances, an increase of over twice the rate he walked in his two triple-A seasons. That may regress, but it’s quite a jump.

If Cozens wants his offensive production to be anywhere near Judge’s, he’ll have to improve upon those strikeout and walk numbers similarly.

There’s one item that isn’t listed, and that’s where they ranked as prospects in global lists. Remarkably, Cozens has yet to be ranked on a top-100 list from any of the major prospect ranking outlets. Judge topped out at No. 18 on Baseball Prospectus’ pre-2016 top-101 list and sank to No. 63 on its pre-2017 list.

Lists be damned, though, Cozens is doing extremely well and if he keeps it up it won’t be long until he’s showcasing his talent in the majors.

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