Continuing along with the profiles of several of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ non-roster invitees to 2021 Spring Training, we move to the infield and one of the highest-rated position players, 23-year-old Kody Hoese.
There were many discussions among fans early last winter that included Hoese’s name, particularly before the team decided to bring back veteran Justin Turner on a two-year deal. The consensus is that Hoese certainly might be the club’s third baseman of the future, but how long it takes the youngster to emerge as a legitimate big leaguer remains to be seen.
In the meantime, Turner and 26-year-old lefty-hitting Edwin Rios will conceivably share the bulk of the time at the hot corner this year, with other players like Chris Taylor, Max Muncy, and Matt Beaty on alert to fill in if needed.
In January, Mike Rosenbaum of MLB.com put together a piece highlighting the Top 10 third base prospects across the majors with Hoese coming in at No. 8. In 2020, the right-handed hitting Hoese appeared as the tenth-best third base prospect in a similar list put together by both Rosenbaum and Jim Callis.
Like front-office boss Andrew Friedman, 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 in college. Hoese 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.
Last year, he was included in the club’s 60-man player pool at the team’s alternate training site.
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.
So far in Cactus League games this spring, Hoese has made five appearances, going 2-for-5 with two walks, a home run, and two RBI.
Looking ahead, while there’s almost zero chance Hoese sees any major league action this year, it will be interesting to see how far he can climb the ladder in the minors. Even though his highest level of competition so far has been Low-A ball, it might not be out of the question to see him elevate as high as Double-A Tulsa in 2021.
MLB Pipeline has Hoese’s estimated, big league arrival time as 2022.