Position: Third Baseman Height: 6-4 Weight: 200
Born: 6/9/1983 Bats: Both Throws: Right
Originally, Kirkland was a 30th round draft choice of the Pittsburgh Pirates, out of the Junior College of Southern Idaho. As a draft-follow-evaluate selection, Kirkland did not sign until the spring of 2002. When the Tigers traded first baseman Randall Simon to the Pirates for Roberto Novoa, Adrian Burnside, and a player to be named later, they knew all along Kirkland was the player coming their way. Because of his late signing date, Kody could not be traded until May of 2003. In his first two professional seasons, Kirkland posted batting averages over .300 with good power potential. The 2004 season was a disaster for Kirkland, who regressed in nearly every aspect of his game, bottoming out with a .236/.276/.401 line.
Kody is an impressive physical specimen and a very good athlete. Offensively, Kirkland has the raw potential to be a dominating player, with good power potential, some ability to hit for average, and surprising speed. Kirkland had previously displayed a reasonable understanding of the strike zone, but regressed dramatically in 2004, striking out more than once per game, and only walking 15 times in over 500 plate appearances. He will have to progress in strike zone judgment, and become a more disciplined hitter if he is to realize his potential. Kirkland shows the raw power potential that makes him a promising prospect, knocking 30 doubles and 10 homeruns last season. The power will likely continue to develop, but without progressions in other facets of his offensive game, Kirkland will likely stagnate quickly. Defensively, Kirkland's athleticism is evident in his quick reactions, reasonable range, good footwork, and strong arm. As with many young infielders, Kody must learn to harness his arm, making strong, accurate throws. If Kody continues to struggle defensively, he does have the speed and knowledge of the game to make an easy transition to an outfield corner.
Performance Year Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB SLG% OPS 2004
Kirkland has suffered no significant injuries at this point in his career.
Early indications have Kirkland repeating West Michigan in 2005, hoping to make the necessary adjustments to experience more success in his second Midwest League tour. Kody's offensive and defensive ability are both quite raw, but if they come together, he is a player who could move quickly. Kirkland's extreme confidence and desire to win will make it difficult for him to stand for struggling again in 2005. Expect to see progress in all phases of his game, and if this happens, he will quickly regain his status as one of the top prospects in the system. Because he is so raw, Kirkland is unlikely to sniff Detroit before September 2007, but if he arrives, it will likely be in a big way.