CLEARWATER, Fla. - Minor-league camp is beginning to hum next door and it's time to get the prospects ready for their seasons.
With that, the Phillies trimmed their spring training roster on Friday by sending a handful of highly regarded young players to the minor-league complex.
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Among the group sent out was hulking slugger Dylan Cozens, who will return to Triple A after a difficult season at that level in 2017.
Cozens, 23, was the Eastern League MVP at Double A Reading in 2016, hitting .276 with 40 homers, 125 RBIs and a .941 OPS. He slipped to .210/27/75/.719 last season. The power remains mammoth. If he can cut down on the strikeouts and even hit .250, he's going to hit a bunch of home runs. More contact is his goal in 2018 and it starts with an easier swing (see story).
Cozens, who is a favorite of hitting guru Charlie Manuel, had a double against the Yankees on Thursday. Other than that, he struggled to get going. Overall, he had just four hits in 23 at-bats and struck out 11 times.
Infielder Eliezer Alvarez was also sent to the minors.
Three pitching prospects were also sent out: Lefty Ranger Suarez and right-handers Franklyn Kilome and Jose Taveras. All three are top prospects who are likely to open the season at least at the Double A level, maybe higher.