June 4, 2019

Dodgers take Tulane slugger, Kody Hoese, with first pick

By: Ken Gurnick – @kengurnick

LOS ANGELES — With their two first-round picks in the 2019 MLB Draft on Monday, the Dodgers went all-in for power-hitting college infielders, selecting Tulane third baseman Kody Hoese No. 25 overall and North Carolina utility man Michael Busch, taken as a second baseman No. 31 overall.

“We liked that demographic, and it worked in our favor in this Draft,” said amateur scouting director Billy Gasparino. “We like college bats and always search for them first.”

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The Dodgers also drafted Jimmy Lewis, a right-handed Texas high school pitcher, 78th overall with a compensation pick for the free-agent departure of Yasmani Grandal.

Hoese, 21, is a right-handed hitter who was drafted by Kansas City in the 35th round last year. After two unspectacular years in college, the 6-foot-4, 200-pound slugger erupted this season, drawing comparisons to Josh Donaldson and becoming the first third baseman the Dodgers have ever taken with their first pick. He hit .391 with 23 homers and 61 RBIs in 58 games. He was scouted by Benny Latino.

“Kody is a guy we earmarked coming out of the fall that we really thought took a jump in both ability and performance. He’s an athletic 6-4, lean-bodied third baseman who we think is a plus defender,” said Gasparino, who saw Hoese play three games in two days.

“We thought the power was going to be there, and then he went out and almost hit .400 with over 20 home runs and really showed us that he was a dynamic hitter that can hit with power. His defense is plus.”

Here’s the MLB Pipeline scouting report on Hoese:

After going homerless as a freshman in 2017 and hitting just five homers as a sophomore, Hoese ranked fourth in NCAA Division I with 23 long balls during the 2019 regular season. Taken in the 35th round in 2018 by the Royals as a Draft-eligible sophomore, he began to realize his power potential by blasting seven homers with wood bats in the New England Collegiate Baseball League last summer. He tied a Tulane record with three homers in his fifth game of the 2019 season and has kept up the rampage, winning American Athletic Conference Player of the Year honors.

Tulane’s best offensive prospect since 2003 Indians first-rounder Michael Aubrey, Hoese is loaded with natural right-handed power. He’s always had a good swing and the ability to leverage the ball with his 6-foot-4 frame, and he has taken off since getting stronger. He drives the ball in the air from gap to gap with ease, maintaining a disciplined approach that has led to more walks than strikeouts in 2019.

Though he’s a below-average runner, Hoese moves well for his size and covers enough ground to remain at third base. His solid arm strength adds to his quality profile at the hot corner, a package that should land him in the top two rounds.

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