After the Detroit Tigers acquired him from the Los Angeles Angels in January of 2016, infield prospect Kody Eaves spent the bulk of the last two seasons with Double-A Erie before getting a look at Triple-A Toledo this summer in an injury-shortened campaign. Across both levels this year he appeared in 96 games (332 at-bats) and slashed .271/.341/.464/.804 with 19 doubles, 13 home runs, 33 walks, and 80 strikeouts — a productive half-season at the right time in Eaves’ career.
But because it was only a half season, the Tigers sent the 24-year-old (DOB: July 8, 1993) to play for the Mesa Solar Sox at the Arizona Fall League last month in a bid for more at-bats. It was there that Baseball Census observed him play nearly a dozen times, and it’s here from those looks that you’ll find our full Kody Eaves scouting report, including game video, tool grades, and projection notes on the Detroit Tigers utility infield prospect.
Kody Eaves Scouting Report, Detroit Tigers — 2017
Dates observed in 2017: Arizona Fall League
Kody Eaves Scouting Report, Detroit Tigers — 2017 Game Video
Kody Eaves Scouting Report — Notes & Analysis
Though Kody Eaves is far from spectacular either in the field or at the plate, he’s got the profile and tools to become a consistent, reliable big leaguer with the ability to play multiple positions across the infield. He grew on me the more I observed him in Mesa this fall, showing off some sneaky pop, good contact skills, and the ability to work counts against the best pitchers the AFL had to offer. Defensively, he’s as consistent as they come playing second and third, and he’d occasionally flash an exceptional play (typically to his backhand up the middle) that’d draw attention and go above and beyond my expectations.
There are still some holes here: Eaves can get too pull happy, especially when he’s trying to hit the ball in the air, and it’d be interesting to see him sell out more for line-drive gap power to his opposite field side depending on how he’s being pitched. With his approach, leg kick, and swing mechanics, though, it’s likely pitchers will continue to bust him hard inside, and so it’s imperative the Detroit Tigers prospect improve his bat speed and barrel control to go along with already good contact skills and pitch recognition. Some of that will come in time as he develops against pitching in the upper minors, though. Ultimately, Kody Eaves has the tools to be sneaky-good in a bench role with a path forward to the big leagues, and that could land him on a 25-man roster one day soon.
Kody Eaves Scouting Report — Future Projection
The 2018 season will be a big one for Kody Eaves, fresh off a productive half season and then a solid showing at the prestigious AFL. His 2017 season was the strongest offensive campaign of his career, and while it came at the right time a year after being traded, Eaves must now prove he can do that again in 2018 against better pitches if he’s to be taken seriously as a future big league option for the Detroit Tigers. He ought to spend most, if not all, of the season with Triple-A Toledo, and if the pop he showed this season translates to the International League, he could get a shot in Detroit at some point considering his versatility and roster flexibility.
Long term, I like Kody Eaves as an under-the-radar type who could overachieve and fall into a productive platoon/utility infield role moving between positions, providing a left-handed option off the bench with some sneaky power. There are holes in his swing that’ll be exploited by better pitchers and limit his ultimate ceiling, but Eaves has strong enough contact skills with some pitch recognition in his approach that’ll allow him to adjust and find a way to succeed in The Show. If things fall into place, he could see some time with the Detroit Tigers in 2018, with a more significant chance to fight for a bench role on the 25-man roster in 2019 and beyond.
Overall Future Potential (Future Value): Ceiling as utility infielder with some pop; if bat regresses, up-and-down role likely (45)
MLB ETA: 2018
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