PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies have a slew of prospects they need to protect before December's Rule 5 Draft.Two of them are outfielder Dylan Cozens and right-hander Ben Lively, who MLBPipeline.com named the Phillies' Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year. Cozens and Lively already won the organization's Paul Owens
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies have a slew of prospects they need to protect before December's Rule 5 Draft.
Two of them are outfielder Dylan Cozens and right-hander Ben Lively, who MLBPipeline.com named the Phillies' Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year. Cozens and Lively already won the organization's Paul Owens Award for its Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year. Cozens shared the award with Double-A teammate Rhys Hoskins.
Cozens, 22, hit .276 with 40 home runs, 125 RBIs, 21 stolen bases and posted a .591 slugging percentage with Reading. He led the Minors in home runs, RBIs, extra-base hits (81) and total bases (308). Cozens, who the Phillies selected in the second round of the 2012 Draft and is the organization's No. 6 prospect, set the Reading single-season home run record. He also earned the Eastern League MVP Award and earned a spot on the MLB Futures Game roster.
"I'm excited to hopefully be here next year," Cozens said last month at Citizens Bank Park. "It's not my call, but if I play as good as I know I can I think it should happen for sure."
Lively, 24, went a combined 18-5 with a 2.69 ERA, 0.94 WHIP (42 walks, 118 hits), 139 strikeouts and a .192 opponents' batting average with Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Philadelphia's No. 23 prospect is the first Minor Leaguer to win 18 games in a season since Colorado's Jhoulys Chacín in 2008. Lively led the International League in WHIP and opponents' batting average and finished second in ERA.
Lively, who was named the Reds' Minor League Player of the Year in 2014, was acquired from Cincinnati in a trade for Marlon Byrd in December 2014.
Lively will have a chance to impress Phillies manager Pete Mackanin and his coaching staff in Spring Training, although he most likely will open the season in Triple-A. Jerad Eickhoff, Aaron Nola and Vince Velasquez are considered locks to make the rotation, if they are healthy. The Phillies will likely acquire at least one veteran starter in the offseason, leaving Lively to battle out for potentially one vacancy with Jake Thompson, Zach Eflin, Alec Asher, Adam Morgan and others.
"If you pitch your butt off down there in the Minor Leagues you'll get your opportunity up here," Lively said last month. "Even if you have a couple of rough games up here they know you're going to get yourself figured out and get you ready for big league hitters up here."
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.