Detroit Tigers fans have been wanting to see Kody Clemens.
Kody Clemens has been a consistent source of minor-league highlights over the past two seasons, and with the Detroit Tigers struggling to score all year, fans have been rather vocal about their desire to see Clemens in the Old English D. Their calls were answered on Monday morning:
Detroit’s seemingly never-ending pile of injuries extended to outfielder Robbie Grossman on Sunday, and he’s now heading to the Injured List with a neck strain. With Austin Meadows, Victor Reyes, and Akil Baddoo all currently injured, the Tigers are desperate for left-handed hitters who can play the outfield. So fans finally get to see Kody Clemens.
Who Is Kody Clemens?
The youngest son of all-time great pitcher Roger Clemens, Kody Clemens was originally selected by the Houston Astros out of high school in the 35th round of the 2015 draft. He chose instead to attend the University of Texas, where his father and older brother Kacy went to school.
Kody had a decent freshman season with the Longhorns, batting .242 with five home runs while mostly playing third base and shortstop. But Tommy John surgery kept him from playing in the field for all but two games as a sophomore, and his offense stagnated.
Fully healed for the 2018 season, Kody Clemens turned into nightmare for opposing pitchers. He batted .351 with 24 home runs while leading Texas to the College World Series and being named a Golden Spikes Award Finalist:
Clemens was generally considered a top-200 talent in the 2018 draft, but the Detroit Tigers used the first pick in the 3rd round (79th overall) to take him. He quickly signed for a $600,000 bonus, which was roughly $150K under the slot recommendation, and he played 52 pro games that summer, batting .288 overall with five home runs.
He spent most of 2019 in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League, where he batted a pedestrian .238 with 11 home runs, before getting a 13-game cup of coffee in Double-A Erie. Clemens wasn’t a part of Detroit’s summer camp roster during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, but he stayed in baseball shape by playing for Team Texas of the Constellation Energy League, where he earned team MVP honors.
Clemens spent almost all of 2021 with the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens, where he posted a .247/.312/.466 batting line, with 18 home runs. He also began experimenting at other defensive positions, playing 72 games at his typical second base spot, but also 24 games in right field, 7 games at first base, and 1 game at third.
The Detroit Tigers added Clemens to their 40-man roster in November, but he has spent the first two months of the season back in Toledo. He’s been more aggressive at the plate this year, leading to a .283 batting average with 23 extra-base hits in 45 games, but also the lowest walk rate (5.6%) of his career.
What To Expect From Kody Clemens
Kody Clemens’ calling card is his above-average power. He can hit home runs to any part of the park, though his power is most impressive to the pull field. He consistently hits the ball hard, but Clemens also puts the ball on the ground a bit too much, which will limit the amount of damage he can do. He handled lefties well in 2021, hitting .261 with power, but he has struggled against southpaws in every other pro season.
Clemens is a below-average runner, but he isn’t a base clogger, and he has good instincts that allow him to take extra bases. His instincts also extend to the defensive side of the ball, where doesn’t have particularly good range, but shows a knack for making the plays he needs to. He has an average, accurate arm.
Overall, Kody Clemens looks like a solid platoon player with some useful power and defensive utility. He isn’t scheduled to start today, but he could easily be called upon as a pinch hitter and defensive replacement, and we expect him to start at least one game during Tuesday’s doubleheader.