Today, we had a decision to make. Since it was a Phillies split squad day. We wanted to watch Dylan Cozens whose bat has been ripping the ball in so far in spring training games and we also wanted to watch Darick Hall, who likely would be making his major league spring training debut. The problem was, Cozens was in the starting lineup against the Toronto Blue Jays four blocks from our home in Dunedin. It turned out that Hall would be playing four miles away at Spectrum Field in Clearwater.
Cozens and Hall were the two top left-handed power hitters in the Phillies system until today. We decided to walk to Dunedin Stadium to watch Cozens play against the Blue Jays. He did not disappoint. Batting fifth in the order, he lined a frozen rope down the right field line over the .336 ft sign for a three run homer to give the Phillies a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Watch HERE. The Phillies never looked back in winning the game 11-5.
Cozens would go on a get a base hit in the his next at bat and finished up with two walks in his final two at bats. He now is hitting 6 for 7 in spring training games with two homers, two double and four walks. He is hitting an unbelievable .857 with an unheard of 2.909 OPS after the first week of spring training games. More importantly, perhaps, he is not striking out as he was prone to do in previous seasons.
I thought the way Cozens is hitting and what appeared the Phillies need for a left-handed power bat, he had a chance to make the Phillies opening day roster. It appeared that Bryce Harper was going to sign elsewhere and gave Dylan a great chance.
Then late in the game in Dunedin, noise started to erupt from down the left field line from Phillies fans and it turned out word was spreading in the stands that Bryce Harper was going to sign with the Phillies. Sure enough, the buzz of the crowd was right. Harper was going to be a Phillie. The chance for Cozens to make the 25-man major league roster, despite his .857 spring training batting average, would be a long shot at best.
Then, after all the Harper excitement, we heard that the Phillies came from behind to tie the Orioles 5-5 on bullet home run by Darick Hall in the bottom of the ninth at Spectrum Field. Watch HERE. We knew Hall could do it and wondered why he was not invited to the major league camp. Last week, we spent time watching him put on long ball shows in batting practice in the minor league camp. On Thursday afternoon, he showed which camp he belongs in.
Before today, the the Phillies were in need of left-handed power bats. All of the sudden they found three of them today in about a three hour stretch.