Phillies minor league teams had a fantastic week, which included one slugger earning the International League Batter of the Week.
It seems as though every week that we are looking at a new group of kids or one in particular who is heating up in the Phillies system. This week, there was no doubt who that player was.
While each level had its highlights, there may not have been any as exciting and hopeful as what was happening in one of the corner outfield spots out in Allentown.
Lehigh Valley IronPigs (21-13)
The team of the week is on a complete roll, going undefeated in seven games. It could be because J.P. Crawford is starting to come around, and the duo of Rhys Hoskins and Jorge Alfaro continue to hit. It could also be due to their bullpen has been relatively stable. However, the news out of Allentown is the powerful right fielder, Dylan Cozens.
The lefty began the week hitting .161 with four homers. After Friday night, a game I was in the stands for, he had improved to eight dingers and going 12-29 (.414) over the last seven games boosted him to .221/.294/.465 overall. I was impressed with Cozens for multiple reasons Friday.
First of all, he seemed incredibly calm in the box in some key spots. In the ninth, with two outs, he laid off a couple of two-strike pitches before driving a liner past the second baseman to tie the game. Then, in the bottom of the 12th, he drilled a first-pitch fastball over the right field wall for a no doubt about it walk-off home run.
Secondly, the sound that comes off his bat is just different. While he will strike out (six this week), the power is unlike most I have seen/heard in person.
Outside of Cozens, the Pigs had some solid pitching performances this week. Thomas Eshelman made his first AAA appearance and started off on the right foot. He went eight scoreless innings, walking only one and striking out six. I have said since the Ken Giles deal was completed that the righty could be the steal of that trade.
On Friday night, I was excited to see Mark Appel really settle in after a difficult second inning. He would have avoided allowing any runs if Alfaro had not dropped a fastball allowing the runner on first to advance.
The play is not something that will show up in the box score but was a major piece to that inning. It would have resulted in a double play, had Alfaro caught it, but instead, Appel allowed three runs.
His total line ended up seven innings, four hits, three earned runs, four walks, and two strikeouts.