Just days after the Dodgers added one of their brightest infield prospects to their 60-man player pool in Michael Busch, the team also welcomed to camp third baseman Kody Hoese, who is currently ranked as the seventh-best prospect in the entire Los Angeles system.
In January, Jim Callis of MLB.com put together a series of rankings highlighting the game’s best prospects by position. Surprisingly, the 23-year-old Hoese appeared on the list as the 10th-best third base prospect in all of baseball.
Like Dodger boss Andrew Friedman, the right-handed hitting Hoese attended Tulane University in New Orleans. The 6-foot-4, 200-pounder 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 Hoese 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.
Hoese has the ability to drive the ball to all fields and he continues to gain strength and power at the plate. His tall 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.
Hoese’s arrival is interesting because some pundits believe the youngster has the potential to quickly emerge as a big league third baseman, especially in light of Justin Turner‘s potential departure at the end of this year.
Looking at the organizational depth at third base, Enrique Hernandez is around. But, like Turner, Kiké will also be eligible for free agency at the end of the season. Chris Taylor, Matt Beaty and even Edwin Rios can handle the hot corner, but none seem to fit the team’s mold to hold down the everyday duties there.
Max Muncy has spent time at third base in the past, but his efforts with the glove have produced less than desirable results. Moreover, there has been plenty of fan-based chatter about shortstop Corey Seager eventually relocating to third, but there has been no signal whatsoever from management that this is the team’s desired plan.