In 2016, numerous prospects broke out and collected some outstanding numbers. The Phillies honored three minor-leaguers with the Paul Owens award, given to the best players in the farm system.
Friday the Phillies honored three prospects with the Paul Owens Award, a de facto MVP/Cy Young award for Phillies minor-leaguers. The Phillies honored AA Reading first baseman Rhys Hoskins along with outfielder Dylan Cozens, as well as AAA pitcher Ben Lively.
Cozens was almost a guarantee to win the award. The 2012 second-rounder led the minor-leagues with 40 home runs and 125 RBI. He slashed .276/.350/.591 across 134 games. Despite such tremendous numbers, some red flags exist that make me question if Cozens has a major-league future.
Cozens wasn’t the only prospect slugging in Reading, as first baseman Rhys Hoskins kept pace with Cozens for most of the year. Hoskins clubbed 38 home runs with a .281/.377/.566 line. In addition, Hoskins maintained a manageable strikeout rate (21.2%) while also walking a solid percentage of the time (12.1%).
Joe Jordan, the Phillies’ director of player development, praised both of the sluggers while talking to Matt Breen of Philly.com:
"“The hardest thing to develop is power, and the hardest thing to find is a run-producing bat. We feel like both of these guys are going to be that. It has been a fantastic experience to watch them, and the reward was seeing them develop as players. We couldn’t have drawn it up any better. I think both of them should be a bright part of our future.”More from That Balls Outta HereProspect Andrew Baker could help Phillies bullpen in 2023Bryce Harper’s absence should lead to Phillies lineup tinkeringPhillies rumors: Club targets Seth Lugo for possible bullpen rolePirates’ bizarre Vince Velasquez hype video will make Phillies fans laughAcquiring Brandon Marsh gave the Phillies flexibility"
In addition, the Phillies honored righty Ben Lively, who split the year between Reading and Lehigh Valley. Lively bounced back from his unimpressive 2015, where he went 8-7 with a 4.13 ERA in Reading, with a tremendous year.
Lively started out the year in AA in grand fashion. He was perfect in nine starts, going 7-0 with a 1.87 ERA, 2.60 FIP, and 0.94 WHIP. Lively racked up 49 strikeouts in 53 innings.
After a promotion to AAA Lehigh Valley, Lively kept on dealing. While he didn’t put up the same electric numbers from AA, Lively still finished the year with a 3.06 ERA and 11-5 record with the IronPigs.
Jordan also told Breen that Lively was open to suggestions, and said Lively “has taken a huge step forward.”
The 24-year old Lively could easily see the major-league rotation in 2017, but a pit stop in Lehigh to start the year is likely.