Phillies Double-A Affiliate Manager, Players Win Awards
The Double-A Reading Fightin' Phils played to an outstanding .631 winning percentage in 2016, amassing 89 wins and compiling just 52 losses.That was enough for an Eastern League division title.
The title came upon the strong offensive output of the likes of first baseman Rhys Hoskins and outfielder Dylan Cozens, with the leadership of manager Dusty Wathan. All three were recognized with major awards on Wednesday as the team heads into the playoffs.
Tom Housnick reported the news, though it appeared all three were almost obvious winners:
Catcher Jorge Alfaro also had a great season, though he was surpassed by his teammates.
Wathan was a long-time professional baseball catcher, who made one trip to the majors with the Kansas City Royals in 2002. Wathan spent his last two seasons in the Phillies organization, catching for the Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre Red Barons in 2006 and the Triple-A Ottawa Lynx in 2007. Wathan played his last game for the Lynx and joined the Phillies organization as a coach.
Wathan set the all-time Reading record for wins by a manager this season. Wathan joined Reading in 2012 after managing Short-Season Williamsport and low Class-A Lakewood. Wathan's award is the second season in a row winning Eastern League manager of the year. Wathan is the son of MLB catcher and manager John Wathan.
Cozens set the Reading franchise record for home runs in 2016. His 40 home runs beat the previous record of 38, set by Darin Ruf in 2012. Cozens drove in 125 runs and batted .276, playing stellar defense along the way. The MVP award was last won by a Reading Fightin' Phils player in 2015, when Brock Stassi took home the honor.
Batting behind Cozens all season was Rhys Hoskins. Hoskins and Cozens battled back and forth for the home run title, but Hoskins fell two shy of Cozens with 38, tying Ruf for second all-time. Hoskins provided lineup protection to Cozens and drove in 116 runs of his own, batting .281 along the way.
The Reading Fightin' Phils open the Eastern League Division Series tonight at home against the Trenton Thunder.