Phillies prospect Dylan Cozens proving my suspicions right

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CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Dylan Cozens #77 of the Philadelphia Phillies poses for a portrait during the Philadelphia Phillies photo day on February 20, 2017 at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Dylan Cozens #77 of the Philadelphia Phillies poses for a portrait during the Philadelphia Phillies photo day on February 20, 2017 at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Dylan Cozens had a monster 2016 season that put him on the radar, but the Phillies prospect has failed to follow it up this year in Triple-A.

Last year while Dylan Cozens was raking for Double-A Reading, I wrote an article poking holes in the Phillies prospect’s season. Cozens had troubling home/road and platoon splits and a strikeout rate above 30 percent. However, despite these issues, Cozens jumped up prospect lists.

This year, Cozens is proving my suspicions right. Through 117 games at Triple-A, Cozens has 23 home runs, 64 runs batted in, and a 10.4 percent walk rate. The positive stats end right about there.

Cozens has a .215/.304/.415 line with a 34.9 percent strikeout rate. His .719 OPS and 100 wRC+ are held aloft only by Cozens’ home-run total. Since July 20, Cozens is hitting just .100 with 42 strikeouts in 95 plate appearances.

The jump in strikeouts is exactly as I expected. This is what I wrote about my strikeout concerns for Cozens:

More from That Balls Outta Here

"In addition, Cozens’s long frame and swing are both a blessing and a curse. When Cozens extends his arms fully, he generates plenty of leverage and can hit a ball out of any park.However, this leaves him vulnerable to inside fastballs as well as breaking pitches away. Double-A pitchers have taken advantage of his weak spots, as Cozens has struck out 31% of the time, more than any other level in his career. As Cozens climbs the ladder to the majors, more advanced pitchers will surely take advantage of Cozens’s weakness and make him look silly at the plate."

Cozens has been dominated by Triple-A pitching so far this season, and major-league pitchers will do the same thing.

In addition, Cozens has struggled against lefties even more than righties again this year. He has a .725 OPS against righties but a .703 OPS against lefties. He has struck out in 34.2 of plate appearances against righties while striking out in 36.6 percent of plate appearances against lefties. The differences aren’t huge, but with Cozens performing this poorly, there isn’t much room for difference.

More from Phillies Prospects

Cozens’ struggles this year have hurt his chances to make it to the majors. The Phillies have an opening in their outfield with Odubel Herrera potentially missing an extended period of time with a hamstring injury. Instead of calling up Cozens, the lone healthy outfielder on the 40-man roster, the team added Pedro Florimon and called him up as an extra infielder/emergency fifth outfielder.

It’s hard to see Cozens being called up in September either as the club showed last year with Nick Williams that they won’t blindly call up prospects.

Next: Phillies top 25 under 25: Ranking young players

With Cozens struggling this year, he’ll probably fall back down prospect rankings this winter. He’ll have to show he can fix these issues next season at the Triple-A level before he ever has a chance of making his case at the major-league level.

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