Among the many speculative conversations among Dodgers fans so far this offseason has been the potential shifting around of several infielders heading into next year. Some feel the team should make a strong push for Anthony Rendon, pointing out Justin Turner‘s declining defensive ability at third base. Others believe that Max Muncy will settle in at first base, as Gavin Lux has cemented the starting spot at the keystone. There are even some folks who believe that a transition to the hot corner is in the cards for Corey Seager.
Whatever the case may be for 2020, there are a few prospects on the rise who could conceivably make an impact in 2021 or shortly thereafter. In years past, the Dodgers were lacking in farm talent at the third base spot; but now, two players have proven they might have the talent to succeed in the bigs at some point down the road.
Like Dodger boss Andrew Friedman, Hoese attended Tulane University in New Orleans. Hoese was a bit of a late bloomer—as a freshman at Tulane he hit just .213 with no homers in 44 games, primarily rotating between shortstop and third base. During his sophomore year, he played at third base exclusively, and his bat began to catch fire. He started all 58 games for the Green Wave and slashed .291/.368/.435 with five homers, 13 doubles and 34 RBI.
Things got even better during his junior year. He exploded for 23 homers, which was fourth in NCAA Division I. He tied a Tulane record with three homers in the fifth game of the season and won the American Athletic Conference player of the year honors after setting league records for homers, 183 total bases, a .779 slugging percentage and 72 runs scored.
Those numbers elevated the Indiana native to the top of the college prospect rankings. Subsequently, Friedman and his troops selected him in the first round of the 2019 draft, making him the 25th overall pick.
Immediately after the draft, the Dodgers ushered Hoese to rookie ball in Arizona, where he hit .357/.456/.643 with five doubles and three homers in 56 AB over 19 games. From there, he went straight to Low-A Great Lakes, bypassing Ogden in the Pioneer League. For the Loons, he slashed .264/.330/.385 with three long balls in 22 games.
The right-handed hitting Hoese has the ability to drive the ball to all fields and he continues to gain strength and power at the plate. His 6-foot-4 frame, coupled with his decent infielding range, is perfect for the hot corner. Scouts say right now his arm strength could be his best asset.
Already, Hoese has climbed the prospect rankings in the Dodgers system, having recently elevated to the No. 7 spot. According to MLB Pipeline, he’s the ninth-best third base prospect in all of baseball.
At 22 years, my best guess is that Hoese begins the 2020 season back at Great Lakes, but considering his level of maturity and his excellent plate discipline, he could find himself earning a quick promotion to High-A Rancho in no time.