The MLB Draft is coming up on June 3 and the Cubs will have several options to choose from when they are up with the No. 27 pick. One of those who’s really making a name for himself this season is third baseman Kody Hoese out of Tulane.The fastest-rising college bat in the draft, Hoese has tremendous power from the right side and good size overall with room to grow into his frame.
Hoese is originally from Griffith, Indiana and was drafted by the Royals in the 35th round in 2018 but chose to go the college route instead He’s been on the first-round radar since late last summer when he began to show a spike in production and power. After hitting five total homers in his first two seasons, all of which came last year, the former Region Rat has clubbed 23 this season to go along with his .388 average.
That performance has him leaping past initial projections and into the first round for a lot of folks. The Cubs have shown an affinity for polished college hitters in the past, and Hoese definitely checks boxes in that regard.
Positions: 3B, SS
Hoese’s post-prep career began playing summer ball in Indiana, where he flashed impressive bat speed and power. That did not necessarily transfer to Tulane right away as he adjusted to D1 baseball. While he did play in 44 games as a freshman, Hoese hit a measly .213 with a .287 OBP and no homers playing a mixture of short and third.
He got limited wood-bat experience in the West Coast league between his freshman and sophomore seasons, but stats there did not show much of an offensive powerhouse either. Something clicked for Hoese in 2018, though.
He got into 58 games for Tulane, hitting a handful of homers with a .291 average and .368 OBP. In the summer, Hoese played in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, smacking seven more home runs in 38 games to lead the league.
Natural maturation and adding muscle has helped, but a bigger part of Hoese’s offensive transformation has been ditching his big leg kick to improve his timing. He’s spent most of his BP time working on driving the ball up the middle the results are evident in the numbers he’s put up as a junior for the Green Wave.
MLB Pipeline has Hoese ranked at 27th, right where the Cubs pick, and had the following to say about his prospects in the upcoming draft:
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 homers and walks than strikeouts in 2019.
The most interesting aspect of Hoese’s development is that it has all taken place over a very short time. The hitting took a while to click as he faced much stiffer competition than he saw in high school. If the Cubs do select him, he needs to continue adapting to that type of experience again. Coaches rave about his work ethic, though, and he appears to be able to develop further.
The Cubs don’t have a lot of power in the farm system right now, so having Hoese available to them at No. 27 is something they may want to jump on.