Clemens missed 2020 and only had about 1350 minor league PA before he was called up, a bit low for a college player. He struggled in the majors, but also had bad luck, BABIP .148.
He was ranked 18th in the Detroit system by MILB in 2020 & 2021:
The third of Roger Clemens’ sons to enter pro ball, Kody could not have built a better springboard, powering his way to Big 12 Conference Player of the Year honors and the Golden Spikes finalist list as a junior at the University of Texas. The Tigers used the top pick of the third round on him in the 2018 Draft, signing him for a $600,000 bonus, and promoted him quickly to Class A West Michigan.
Clemens stands out for his left-handed power as well as the gritty makeup that enables him to get the most out of his otherwise average tools and skills. He worked to get stronger and to turn on and pull more pitches, increasing his game power without sacrificing his ability to control the strike zone and grind out quality at-bats. Clemens totaled just 10 home runs in his first two years at Texas before erupting as a junior, a trend that has carried into pro ball. He shows a good grasp of situational hitting. He isn’t considered a speedy runner, but he still swiped 11 bases in 14 attempts at Lakeland, a testament to his instincts.
Though Clemens isn’t an elite athlete, his instincts and ability to read hitters have allowed him to stick at second base through the lower levels. If that continues, and he makes the next step as a hitter at Double-A, he could enter the Tigers’ infield mix in the coming years as a left-handed hitter with double-digit home run power.
Spring training comments from Detroit:
IF Kody Clemens
The numbers: 18 PA, .200 AVG, 3B, 2 BB, 3 SO
The eye test: Clemens turns 25 in May, and the Tigers face a tough decision regarding whether to start him in Double A or Triple A this season. Clemens is well-liked in the system because of his grinder approach and the simple fact the Tigers have limited organizational depth at second base. Clemens is not the quickest middle infielder but remains a decent defender at second and has also experimented at first base this spring. His bat will determine whether he reaches the major leagues, and Clemens has worked over the past year to become less of a dead-pull hitter. His batting average plummeted when he began facing more shifts in the minor leagues. Using more of the field without sacrificing power will be the test for Clemens this year in the upper rungs of the minors.
Hinch: “Pop can come in a lot of different ways. I think the fact that he hits the ball hard and has a pretty good idea of control, he’s mature because he’s been a major-college (player) and he’s played a few minor-league (levels). It doesn’t surprise me that it’s one of the things that he can do well. If he can control the zone and hit the ball hard, then he can be a big leaguer.”