There is something special happening in Baseball Town this year! The classic ballpark and the crazy hot-dog vendor are well worth the drive up north. But the amazing talent on the field makes a trip a must this year! The R-Phils are bashing there way to a 48-19 record, which is the best in all of affiliated ball! A large part of there is success is thanks to one of the most dangerous lineups in baseball led by under the radar prospects RF Dylan Cozens and 1B Rhys Hoskins.
The Fightin's are leading the Eastern League in nearly every offensive category. They are currently first in runs, hits, doubles, home runs, RBI, total bases, OBP, Slugging, batting average and OPS. You can't do this without a well balanced lineup but the a good chunk of the bashing is coming from newly minted "Bash Brothers" Cozens and Hoskins. The two alone have more home runs this season than 5 Eastern League Teams! Most casual fans know Crawford, Williams, Knapp and Alfaro, but Cozens and Hoskins don't jump off the page but maybe they should.
Cozens has been sitting just under the radar for most waiting to force his way onto the prospect scene. The 2012 2nd round pick is a physical specimen who has always had the tools to succeed but never put it all together. Standing 6'6" 235 LBS, you knew it was just a matter of time before the former D1 football recruit would do just that. Through his first 4 seasons of pro ball, Cozens averaged just 9.5 homers a season as the organization wanted him to focus on driving the ball as opposed to swinging for the fences.
It appears the strategy has worked as Cozens is crushing the ball this year! His 19 home runs and .967 OPS are the best in the Eastern League. In addition to his appetite for the long ball, the 22 year old is also hitting .294 and the big man is 2nd on the team with 13 steals! A man of his size/speed combination and his power potential don't come around very often. Despite his breakout season, he is still ranked just 22nd on the MLB.com Phillies top 30. I've always felt Cozens was an extremely underrated prospect and he is just now getting some of his due. If Cozens continues to mash a late season promotion to AAA isn't out of the question but probably not likely.
If you want to play first base, you are going to have to hit and hit a lot! Rhys Hoskins has done just that through his accession through the organization. Despite being just 23, he is credited with an advanced feel for hitting. The other "Bash Brother" Hoskins was a 5th round pick of the Phillies in 2014. Since then he has progressed very nicely and finds himself at AA just 2 years after joining the organization.
Last year he hit .319 with 17 home runs and 90 RBI between single A Lakewood and Clearwater. His great year earned him the promotion to AA Reading for the start of 2016. And the 23 year old first baseman hasn't disappointed. So far this year he is hitting .282 with 17 HR and 53 RBI! Hoskins lack of athleticism will likely keep him at 1B in the big leagues. But some play in LF (think Ruf) isn't completely out of the question. The Phillies all of sudden seem to be deep at first base with the emergency of Tommy Joseph (aka ToJo) and the continued development of Brock Stassi (AAA) Hoskins and Kyle Martin (A). Hoskins will need to continue to hit if he wants to remain near the top of the organizational ladder but he clearly has the ability to do just that.
The crazy part of this is that I haven't even mentioned a prospect who probably has the most power potential in the organization and maybe the most in MILB, catcher Jorge Alfaro. The lineup is STACKED and will only continue to bash opposing pitching. This team has enough power to supply a small city and you know that "Chick's Dig the Long Ball!" So make the drive north to Baseball Town and see the Bash brothers, some Phuture Phillies and the best team in Minor League Baseball! I'm sure you won't regret it!