Six Reading Fightin Phils players have been selected to the Eastern League All-Star Game in Akron on July 13th. Catcher Jorge Alfaro, first baseman Rhys Hoskins, outfielder Dylan Cozens, infielder Jesmuel Valentin, starting pitcher Nick Pivetta, and reliever Hoby Milner will represent Reading in the mid-summer classic.
Minor League Baseball’s top home run hitting duo, Cozens and Hoskins, will look to show off their power in their first Eastern League All-Star Game. Cozens and Hoskins are battling head-to-head in many offensive categories in the Eastern League. Outside of sharing the minor league lead in home runs, with 21 this season, the duo is tied for second in the Eastern League in RBI with 62. The pair of teammates each has a league-best 167 total bases.
Returning to Reading for his second season, Cozens is hitting .276 with a .360 OBP and .562 slugging percentage. He is tied for the Eastern League lead in doubles with 22 this season and leads the league in runs scored with 65. The 22-year old is also quick on the base path with 14 stolen bases, and was named the Eastern League Player of the Month for May after hitting .289 (33-for-114) with 10 doubles, nine homers, and 26 RBI.
A fifth round selection of the Phillies in 2014, Hoskins is hitting .291 with a .356 OBP and a league-best .572 slugging percentage. The 23-year old has also posted the second-most hits in the Eastern League with 85 so far, three ahead of fellow Bash Brother Dylan Cozens. His 57 runs scored trail Cozens by eight for the Eastern League lead.
After being dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies last season as part of the Cole Hamels trade, Alfaro hasn’t missed a beat in his first year in the Phillies farm system. The third-best catching prospect in baseball is hitting .301 with 13 doubles and nine home runs in 51 games for Reading this season. Alfaro is equally as talented behind home plate, throwing out 22-of-48 (45.8%) base runners.
Valentin has flourished as an integral piece of the Fightins infield all season. The 21-year old Puerto Rico native is hitting .285 with 13 doubles, 36 RBIs, and 28 walks in 68 games. He’s currently in the midst of arguably his best season in the minors since being drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the compensation round of the 2012 draft. Valentin was acquired by the Phillies prior to the 2014 season as part of the Roberto Hernandez trade.
Pivetta returned to Reading this season after a short stint in 2015 following his trade from the Nationals. This year, the British Colombia native is 7-4 with a 3.31 ERA in 16 starts. He has struck out 80 batters this season, the third-best mark in the Eastern League. The 23-year old also shares the league lead in starts.
A steady force out of the Fightins bullpen this year, Milner heads to his second Eastern League All-Star game after going 4-1 with a 1.97 ERA in 24 appearances. Opponents are hitting just .218 off of the Texas native this season and he has struck out 35 batters to just nine walks. The southpaw started his 2016 season with Reading by not surrendering an earned run over his first 14 appearances (18.0 innings).
As the reigning Eastern Division champions, manager Dusty Wathan, pitching coach Steve Schrenk, and athletic trainer Aaron Scott will make up the Eastern Division coaching staff for the All-Star Game.