The Dodgers on Monday evening announced their first two selections in the 2019 MLB draft, picking Tulane University third baseman Kody Hoese with their first pick (25th overall) and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill second baseman Michael Busch with their second selection of the first round (31st overall).
In 2019, Hoese started all 58 games for the Green Wave, posting a slash line of .391/.486/.779 and slugging 23 home runs while recording 61 RBI. The right-handed hitter also demonstrated solid plate discipline in 2019, walking 39 times compared to just 34 strikeouts.
“Kody’s 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 Dodger Amateur Scouting Director Billy Gasparino. “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.”
Hoese, who was scouted by Dodgers’ area scout Benny Latino, was named a Collegiate Baseball First-Team All-American in addition to earning American Athletic Conference Player of the Year honors. The Griffith, Indiana native’s impressive work in 2019 also made him the single-season conference record-holder for home runs, total bases, slugging percentage and runs scored.
Six picks later, the Dodgers added another impact bat in University of North Carolina’s Michael Busch with the 31st overall selection. Busch started all 126 games for the Tar Heels over the past two seasons, hitting .304 with 29 home runs and 120 RBI over that stretch while earning All-ACC honors both years.
In 2019, the junior from Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota launched 16 home runs while playing multiple positions in the infield and the outfield. The left-handed hitter, who was scouted by Dodgers’ scout Jonah Rosenthal, was also impressive during his stint using wood bats in the Cape Cod League during the summer of 2018, where he posted a .322 batting average and earned All-Cape Cod League honors with the Chatham Anglers.
“Michael is a guy who we thought was one of the better bats in the Cape, both in terms of performance and swing, as well as overall defensive versatility,” Gasparino added. “He’s been a staple in the UNC program. They rave about his makeup and his character, and we’re excited to add him to our organization.”
The draft continues on Tuesday with rounds 3-10 starting at 10:00 a.m. Pacific and rounds 11-40 on Wednesday.
(The Dodgers’ PR crew furnished some information provided in this report)