Rhys Hoskins will hit second for the Philadelphia Phillies Saturday afternoon, as the club looks to stay in a crowded National League Wild Card race. Meanwhile, Dylan Cozens – his former Reading “Bash Brother” – is at home recovering from a toe injury that has cost him much of the 2019 season. Cozens, 25, does have a new employer, though.
After being released by the Phillies earlier this month, Cozens has agreed to a two-year minor league deal (2019 being the first year) with the Tampa Bay Rays, per Josh Tolentino and Matt Gelb of The Athletic. Roster Roundup first reported Friday evening that a deal between the two sides was imminent.
In 2016, Cozens won the Joe Bauman Award by hitting 40 home runs, the most of any minor leaguer at any level. He and Hoskins – who hit 38 home runs in 2016 – combined for 78 home runs and 240 home runs for Double-A Reading, who was coached by current Phillies third base coach Dusty Wathan.
A year later, though, Hoskins would take the major leagues by storm, launching 18 home runs in his first 170 major league at-bats. Hoskins, 26, never looked back after being promoted to the major league level in August of 2017, as he currently has 76 major league home runs in parts of three seasons. Cozens – who stands at 6’6 – ended his Phillies career having received just 39 at-bats at the major league level. In those 39 at-bats, Cozens homered just once and struck out 24 times.
Though Cozens is a natural right fielder, he could theoretically play first base and certainly could DH. With Austin Meadows entrenched in right field, that could come into play if Cozens ultimately does make an impact at the major league level with the Rays, who are known for strong talent development.
While it initially appeared that Cozens would be out for the season when he had surgery on his toe in May, he said that wouldn’t be the case in a tweet. Tolentino says there’s a “slim chance” that Cozens could play in September.
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