Kody Eaves was originally drafted out of high school by the Los Angeles Angels in the 16th round of the 2012 draft.
He swiped 22 bags in a half season with the Angels rookie affiliate in 2013 before getting the promotion to A-Ball in 2014. Eaves hit .268 with 10 home runs and 25 stolen bases at that level.
He spent all of 2015 at High-A, hitting .248 with 11 home runs, 21 stolen bases and 71 RBI.
After the season, the Tigers traded first baseman Jefry Marte to acquire Eaves, then ranked the No. 22 prospect in the Angels system.
At the time of the deal, General Manager Al Avila was quoted as saying:
"“He’s a second baseman, but he can play second, short, third, left field,” Tigers general manager Al Avila said. “Right now he’s going to play mostly second base. He hits left-handed, can run a little bit. He’s got a good arm. He can hit a little bit. He’s got a little pop. He’s going to start in Double-A.”"
Eaves indeed spent all of 2016 at Double-A. While his batting average dipped to .222, his walk-rate skyrocketed to 10.4% and he added 11 home runs and six stolen bases.
2017 was Eaves’ strongest professional season, as he slashed .272/.343/.472 with 13 home runs and nine stolen bases. He also posted a 124 wRC+, the highest mark of his career.
That earned him a call-up to Triple-A Toledo, where Eaves went 7-for-27 (.259) in eight games.
Defensively, Eaves has started 119 games at third base and 64 games at second base while in Detroit’s organization.
It’s hard to say exactly what changed Avila’s mind, but with Jeimer Candelario blocking Eaves at third base his route to the major leagues will either be as a second baseman or as a utility infielder.
However, the 25-year-old will get a shot at the utility infielder role out of camp. Expect him to start the season out at Triple-A Toledo, but Eaves could make his big league debut in 2018.