Crew adds Milner, Cozens on Minors deals

December 18th, 2020

MILWAUKEE -- On the same day Brewers manager Craig Counsell expressed optimism about beginning Spring Training on time, the club announced late Thursday that it had signed left-handed reliever Hoby Milner and outfielder Dylan Cozens to Minor League contracts with invitations to big league camp.

The Brewers haven’t yet announced the date pitchers and catchers are to report to American Family Fields of Phoenix for the start of Spring Training, but their first Cactus League games are on the schedule for Feb. 27 against the White Sox and A’s.

Milner, who turns 30 in January, is a soft-tossing lefty in the mold of Alex Claudio, who pitched the past two seasons for the Brewers but signed as a free agent this week with the Angels. Milner pitched for the Angels in 2020, averaging 87.9 mph with his sinker while also throwing a curveball and occasional changeups.

He has a knack for inducing weak contact and has limited left-handed hitters to a .678 OPS over parts of four seasons in the Majors for the Phillies, Rays and Angels, but he has had trouble with right-handers (1.024 OPS) and owns an overall 1.51 WHIP in 55 2/3 innings. Milner’s best work came in 2017, when he posted a 2.01 ERA in 31 1/3 innings as a Phillies rookie. In '20, Milner pitched 13 1/3 innings with an 8.10 ERA and either allowed an earned run or allowed an inherited runner to score in nine of 19 games.

Cozens, 26, is a left-handed power hitter and former Phillies prospect -- he rose as high as No. 6 on MLB Pipeline’s list of Philadelphia's top prospects -- who briefly made it to the Majors in 2018 and ’19 before spending '20 with the Rays at that team’s alternate training site. He’s a .252/.329/.473 hitter with 134 home runs over eight seasons in the Minor Leagues, including a 40-homer, .941-OPS season at Double-A Reading in 2016, when Cozens played in the prestigious All-Star Futures Game and shared Philadelphia’s Minor League Player of the Year Award with Rhys Hoskins.

At the Triple-A level, Cozens is a .219/.321/.464 hitter in 998 plate appearances. He has mostly manned right field in his pro career.

Milner and Cozens join third baseman Zach Green as non-roster invitees to Major League camp so far.