Joey Ricotta | May 31st, 2019
Kody Hoese, 3B (Tulane)
Weight: 200 pounds
2017 Stats: .215/.289/.281, 0 HR, 10 RBI, 13 BB, 25 SO
2018 Stats: .291/.368/.435, 5 HR, 34 RBI, 21 BB, 33 SO
2019 Stats (Through May 26, 2019: .391/.486/.779, 23 HR, 61 RBI, 39 BB, 34 SO
MLB Pipeline Grades: Hit: 50 Power: 55 Run: 40 Arm: 55 Field: 50 Overall: 50
Kody Hoese grew up a Chicago Cubs fan living just down the road in Griffith, Indiana. He is a talented third baseman out of Tulane University who was previously drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 35th round of the 2018 MLB Draft. Hoese decided to turn it down and I’m sure he is not regretting that decision. He’s had a monster year in 2019 with Tulane. This season, he’s currently tied for fourth in the nation in homers with 23 while also leading the nation in total bases with 183. Certainly, his draft stock has risen along with his potential payday. Hoese was recently named a semifinalist for the 2019 Golden Spikes Award which is sort of like the baseball version of the Heisman Trophy Award. He was also named the American Athletic Conference Baseball Player of the Year.
Kody Hoese’s strengths are obviously with the stick. He always had a good swing but has been improving his contact and power immensely every year. He doesn’t have a huge high leg kick and stride, allowing him to make contact consistently with good timing. As he has gotten stronger, his power has improved. He keeps his hands low and back elbow tight to his body which allows him to be quick to the ball but long through the zone, while also creating the ability to turn on tough inside pitches and keep them in fair play. Receiving praise from many scouts for being a tremendous gap-to-gap hitter, he has improved his plate discipline every year. He walked five more times than he struck out this past year and 18 more times than he did in 2018. Hoese’s success in the summer of 2018 hitting with wood bats is encouraging as well. He slashed .283/.370/.493 with 7 HR and 25 RBI in 38 games with the Newport Gulls of the New England Collegiate League. Another strength? Bat flipping. He doesn’t always flip his bat but when he does, it is absolutely flawless.
Not the greatest fielder and doesn’t have a ton of speed. Scouts have concerns about his range and overall defensive prowess but believe he can be serviceable enough to be a big league third baseman. He does have the arm strength to be able to play the position. Hoese went through a little bit of a power cold spell to end the season, hitting just two home runs in his last 18 games. And both of those homers came in the same game. Purely speculation on my part, but recent bias could be fresh in the minds of whoever may be looking at drafting Hoese. If that is the case, they might decide to pass on Hoese and he could fall to the later part of the first round.
Kody Hoese is one of the most powerful right-handed bats in the upcoming draft. He was even leading the nation in home runs at one point this season. Hoese shot up the ranks this year, as far as draft boards go. He may be the best offensive third baseman available, but might still be looked at with skepticism because of years past and his recent power outage. Looking at this past season as a fluke would be a mistake. The simplicity of Hoese’s swing will allow him to be consistent at the Major League level. The fact that he’s able to generate so much power behind his swing is a testament to his added strength and muscle. He truly has one of the most beautiful and repeatable right-handed swings out of any of the draft prospects. He should be capable enough to man third base in the big leagues.
Draft Prediction: Round 1 Pick 21 Atlanta Braves
I can’t say with any certainty this is where he will go. There are a lot of teams interested, including teams before and after the Braves’ pick. If the Braves and others pass on Hoese, there is a strong possibility he could get the chance to play for his favorite team growing up, the Chicago Cubs. Although they need pitching, it sounds like Theo Epstein and the Cubs really like Hoese and they have been keeping a close eye on him. Usually, when Epstein and his staff see a college hitter they like, they stop at nothing to get him. But I really think Atlanta would be the rightful landing spot for him. Austin Riley has been tearing it up since the Braves called him up. He is a natural third baseman, but they have been using him in the outfield as well, due to Ender Inciarte‘s injury. If Hoese falls to them and they indeed take him with the 21st overall pick, the Braves will find a way to make it work and get both Riley and Hoese into their everyday lineup of the future. Either that or Hoese will become great trade bait.
Check out our other Draft Previews:
Questions and comments?
Follow Joey Ricotta on Twitter @theriot326
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images