There’s a new sparkplug on the Dodgers and his name is Zach McKinstry. If you didn’t know who he was before the season, we’ll forgive you, but there’s no way to hide all he’s accomplished in his first real opportunity in the majors.
All he’s done in the first week of the season is collect 6 hits in 11 at-bats, drive in 4 runs, and hit the wildest inside-the-park home run you’ll ever see. Simply put, the kid has been a spark off of the bench, and more recently, in the starting lineup.
The rookie has started the last two games for the Dodgers after pinch-hitting in two of their first three games, and he has not disappointed. Whether he’s in the infield or the outfield, he’s performed, and that has manager Dave Roberts extremely confident when he’s out there.
He’s a pro. He’s a guy that has a great story, he’s a grinder, he’s a baseball payer, and he’s getting an opportunity. He earned this opportunity to make this club, and he’s taking advantage of it. I feel comfortable moving him anywhere on the diamond, and when he’s getting those opportunities, it’s good to see him come through.
It’s not often that a team’s number 9 hitter is batting .500, but that was the case with McKinstry on Monday night. And with his three-hit performance, he’s now raised his average on the young season to a whopping .545.
While this will most definitely drop as things start to balance out, the strong start by McKinstry has been enough to warrant more playing time going forward. After the game, Dave Roberts was asked if he thinks that Zach has earned the consideration, and there was no hesitation from the manager.
Yeah, absolutely. I think that the plan for Zach was [for him] to play. I think that we have a lot of good players, there’s some other guys that are going to play as well, but for me to make sure that I keep him involved and give him more playing time is important, and I’ll continue to do so. But it certainly helps that he’s playing well.
Losing Kiké Hernández during the offseason was a tough blow for a team that relied on his versatility and energy off of the bench, but Zach McKinstry has more than softened the blow. It would be insane to expect this kind of productivity over the course of an entire season, but he’s definitely earned the trust and respect of his manager and the team as a whole.
The Dodgers always manage to find these hidden gems that make other teams green with envy, but credit goes to the best scouting department in baseball. Zach was a 33rd round draft pick by the team back in 2016 and is just another one in a long line of success stories for this team. But after an impressive opening act, the McKinstry show looks like it’s here to stay.