ALLENTOWN — Rightfielder Dylan Cozens made his first plate appearance in his new home a memorable one. Cozens crushed a hanging curveball for a towering home run to right field leading off the second inning as Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs beat his old Double-A Reading team, 5-3 in their annual exhibition game at Coca Cola Park on Tuesday.
As a bonus, the 6-foot-6, 245-pound Cozens, who is a lefthanded hitter, blasted the home run off lefty Brandon Leibrandt.
"I hadn't been here and that was my first at-bat in the stadium and obviously it was a good confidence booster and I am looking forward to doing it in the season," said Cozens, who is rated the Phillies No. 9 prospect by MLB Pipeline and No. 10 by Baseball America.
Cozens went 1 for 3, striking out his final two at-bats.
Last season he led all minor leaguers with 40 home runs for Reading. (He also hit another in the postseason).
Cozens, who turns 23 on May 31, has heard skeptics question his home run total because he played at a bandbox in Reading. Of his 40 home runs, 29 came at home. In addition, he hit five of his home runs off lefthanders, in 127 at-bats.
"I think I can hit home runs anywhere," he said.
So does IronPigs manager Dusty Wathan, who managed Cozens at Reading last year.
"I don't think the park will affect him much," Wathan said. "The park factor is minimal to me."
Cozens insists that he won't be intimidated by playing in a bigger ballpark than he did at Reading. At Coca Cola Park it is 400 feet to dead center field, 388 to deep left center and 369 to deep right center. It is 325 at the right and left field foul poles.
"I don't worry about the park," said Cozens, a second-round draft choice out of high school in 2012. "I know if I hit the ball well, it will go out no matter where."