I spent my Saturday night watching Sunday afternoon baseball from Melbourne Australia. I did not know it at the time but I was about to start following two players auditioning to form the “Core Four’ of future Phillies lineups though that might not be until the 2018 season.
Melbourne Aces right fielder in the Australian Baseball League and Phillies prospect, Dylan Cozens just ended his ABL season getting two hits in his last two at bats including a double over the centerfielders head against a pitcher, Virgil Vasquez, who pitched eight innings of one-run baseball. He also pitched at AAA and AA last season and has pitched 19 games including 10 starts in his MLB career.
Cozens finished the ABL season strong. In his final ten games he went 11 for 32 with two homers, 7 RBIs, 8 walks and for a .344 average. He also stole 5 bases in his last ten games.. Plus he also gunned down a runner at third in an earlier game this weekend.
Not to be out done on Sunday playing third base for the Gigantes in the Dominican Winter League playoff final’s elimination game, Franco hit two home runs, including a grand slam, an rbi single and a sacrifice fly rbi to go 3 for 4 and drive in 7 runs in a 12-5 win for the DWL Championship. See Here.
Up until yesterday Franco was not hitting much in the series finals going 8 for 29 with no homers and only two RBIs in the first seven games. Just goes to show what kind of explosive power Franc0 possesses.
Though the ABL is considered a step below the DWL in caliber, the 20 year old Cozens and the 22 year old Franco had very similar numbers in the regular season of the two offseason leagues. Cozens had a slash line of .255/.326/.487 for an .804 OPS. He had 8 homers with 11 stolen bases in 45 games. Franco slashed at .272/.335/.469 for an .805 OPS. He had 7 homers in 38 games.
The MLB “Core Four” designation started with the great Yankee teams who won the the World Series in “96,98,99,00 and 09” with essentially the same four core players: Jose Posada, Derek Jeter, Andy Petite and Mariano Rivera. Read Here.
The Phillies current “Core Four” is in the process of being broken up. They played together winning the 08 World Series and playrd in the 09 World Series and won five divisional series. Already Jimmy Rollins has been dealt to the Dodgers and Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels are on the trading block. Chase Utley appears to want to remain with the Phillies to end his career.
My choices right now for a projected new Phillies “Core Four” to lead them into the future by the 2018 season who played after September 1st are Maikel Franco, Dylan Cozens, Roman Quinn Read Here and Ken Giles Read Here. The Phillies still do not have a young No. 1 starter in my opinion in their system which is the one missing link in a future “Core Four”. That’s why it is hard to move the only legitimate No. 1 pitcher in the Phillies system, Cole Hamels without getting a big haul in return.