Written by: Jake Tweedie
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Dodgers No. 5 Prospect Kody Hoese 3B – Great Lakes Loons (A Full)
23 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 6’4″ 200lbs – ETA 2022
Kody Hoese was drafted in the 1st Round (25th Overall) in 2019, coming out of Tulane University (LA.). The Dodgers sent him initially to AZL Dodgers Mota, before making the promotion to Great Lakes Loons (A Full). He didn’t make a ton of appearances but had a solid year with the hopes of joining up with the A Advanced affiliation in 2021.
Hoese debuted at AZL Dodgers Mota in 2019, making 19 appearances in a strong and productive spell at Rookie ball. He moved to Great Lakes Loons towards the end of July and made a further 22 appearances in the Midwest League (A Full).
Despite his build, he went homerless as a freshman in 2017, and just 5 times in 2018, before a power-hitting season in 2019. He went deep 23 times to earn the American Athletic Conference player of the year, setting multiple records along the way. He did manage to translate this into pro ball, homering 5 times, as he matched similar numbers to that of his 2018 season with the Newport Gulls in the NECL.
Although he didn’t get much opportunity to play a lot of games, he demonstrated his clean contact and power-hitting ability in the short sample of 2019. If he can continue to make clean contact with the ball, with some more focus on the pop off the bat, then he should reach 20 HRs a season.
His fielding is largely highlighted by his big frame, and his ability to move so well despite this. There is some need to become more consistent at 3B, but his bat plays up to the position and his above-average arm certainly helps.
Despite his power tool being projected greater than his hit tool Hoese has one of the cleanest swings and disciplined approaches in the Dodgers’ system. Regularly making contact with the ball, he averaged .299 in his first season in pro ball. He maintains his discipline, as seen by his 18/25 BB/K stats, and has the read of most pitches he faces. There is the potential to hold off against off-speed pitches if he needs to, or attack fastballs in the zone.
Hoese batted .316 with 28 HRs in 3 seasons at Tulane. Despite his size and potential raw power, he only recently added homer-hitting to his game. His first 2 seasons saw just 5 HRs between them, including a homerless Freshman year.
His relaxed action, as well as his shift of his hips, allows him to generate power without a large swing. The lack of lower-body movement helps him stay in control of the strike zone. Although this means he can be quite static, the extension of his arms allows him to swing with control and without too much effort.
He has a medium leg kick before his action that allows his body to shift his momentum smoothly and help the movement of his hips.
His controlled approach in College saw him barrel the ball regularly before a realization of his power helped him to multiple XBHs and HRs. He was only impressive in College in his final year, showing that he excelled as a late-bloomer. His 1.265 OPS was a significant improvement on .803 in 2018 and .565 in 2017. All his numbers dramatically increased in 2019, as he became more comfortable at the plate and utilizing his size and frame more effectively.
Being signed for $2.74m just a year after being selected by the Royals in Round 35, Kody Hoese grasped his chance at being drafted in the first round with an impressive first season. Although he didn’t light up the Midwest League, he was disciplined and played his way into pro ball with ease. There wasn’t a big output offensively in terms of numbers, but his BA was average and he didn’t strike out that often.
His spray chart shows strong utilization of the field. Kody showed ability in getting on base by spraying the ball into the gaps on both sides of the plate. His effortless swing and strong control over his bat allowed him to find the gaps all over the field and not be restricted to one area. Although the majority of his HRs came on the pull side, his triples mainly came to the opposite field.
Not much will need to be changed in terms of his approach, but there may be some need to be slightly more aggressive as he progresses to really make the most of his frame and power potential.
Although Kody exploded onto the scene in his 2019 college season with his power hitting, he had just 5 HRs last season. There had to be an element of his approach being more cautious in his first season in pro ball, but he made regular contact and picked up multiple XBHs instead. If he was to let the reins off slightly as he progresses then those XBHs should become HRs.
From College to A ball
After such an explosion in his final year at Tulane, it was always going to be tough for Kody Hoese to replicate that into the pro ball scene. He controlled his approach well and looked to make contact with the ball without going gung-ho and striking himself out.
His batted ball profile shows his emphasis from the opposite field in Rookie class to pull side in A-class. This could be a combination of either more controlled pitching in A class, or he found his range a bit better with the more games he played. There was certainly a more even split between both sides in A-class, whilst it seemed he was more productive to the opposite field in Rookie ball, with 3 doubles and a triple down the first baseline.
A More Disciplined Approach
The dramatic shift in productivity from a HR perspective may worry people from the outside, but if you see Kody’s hits and his mechanics in pro ball you will see a more reserved approach to his game. There is an emphasis on how easy hitting can be at College level, so an increased pitching level at pro ball had Kody thinking a bit more and being a bit more refined in his approach.
He utilized his contact skills more than his power skills, but that showed his ability to adapt to better pitchers and different scenarios.
His power potential should see him reach 20 HRs a season once he becomes more comfortable at the plate. There is also plenty of potential for regular XBHs due to the way he can drive the ball hard and with clean contact.
Kody is a below-average runner on the basepaths. He will never be a SB threat due to his non-aggressive running, as well as his understanding of his limits as a runner.
Defense: 45/50 – Arm: 55/55
Kody Hoese is a solid defender at 3B. He has good range despite his size and moves well positionally. His soft hands and accurate throws from different angles make him a highly effective fielder.
He has an above-average arm, with the potential for more as his strength progresses. His bat plays up to the position, and his big frame certainly helps that, but there could be a shift to 1B if he outgrows the position. This could be the case due to his size and lack of real speed.
Summary: 50 FV
Kody Hoese had a productive and exciting year in 2019. He excelled with his power tool at College level with Tulane, before being drafted to the Dodgers and reaching A-Class. Despite a lack of a season in 2020, he did join up with the Instructional Camp to face MLB-experienced pitchers that will certainly help his development.
There are certain areas that he does well in, but there are also areas that just need a bit of an extra push to really showcase what they have to offer. His power is the key one from that perspective but he has time to develop and it showed his maturity to allow his discipline to take a further step forward rather than swinging and missing regularly.
His 2021 season could be an exciting one, with more eyes on him due to what he achieved in 2019. There may not be much of a chance in terms of reaching the Majors, but steady progression and working on areas that he needs to work on is far more important for 2021.
Overall, Kody Hoese is a big talent with the potential to be so much better by the end of 2021. He may find himself slightly restricted in a World Series organization but with hard work and dedication, he could be near the Majors roster in a few years time.
You can read the rest of the Dodgers Top 20 Prospects HERE