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Dodgers Draft Director Explains Why Zach McKinstry Fell So Far Back in the 2016 Draft

It’s not often that you see a 1001st overall pick thrive in MLB.



The Dodgers have a history of finding players around MLB that are not living up to their full potential. You can look at guys like Justin Turner, Chris Taylor, and Max Muncy for no better example. But the 2016 draft class is proving that Los Angeles knows how to dig deep, especially in the later rounds. 

When Luke Raley made his big-league debut earlier this month, he became the 11th player from the Dodgers 2016 draft class to reach the big leagues. That’s an incredible accomplishment, even though some of the other guys are now with different organizations. 

One of the guys from that draft class is playing like an All-Star to start the season. The Dodgers picked Zach McKinstry in the 33rd round of the draft with the 1001st overall selection. Draft extraordinaire Billy Gasparino recently spoke with the OC Register about Zach and why he fell so far in the draft. 

Zach’s had a weird track to where he’s at in that he’s always a little undersized. He didn’t have a lot of strength. He was sophomore eligible, so a lot of guys didn’t know he was draft-eligible that year. He didn’t get noticed as much as his ability and athleticism would suggest. He could hit, could run, had a nice swing, just didn’t have strength. He was a late bloomer physically. That overshadowed his other talents and skill.

Flash forward just a few short years and McKinstry is second on the team in homeruns and runs driven in to start the year. The Dodgers may have taken a flier on him way back in the 33rd round, but it’s paying off big time in 2021. 

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McKinstry came into Spring Training as the guy everyone hoped would replace Enrique Hernandez. With the ability to play all over the diamond, the comparisons were bound to happen. The biggest difference being he is left-handed, and the Dodgers weren’t expecting the same power contribution. 

Instead, McKinstry has shown up and smashed the ball early on. 

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. The Dodgers never give youth much credit. Always hanging on to the likes of Kiki and Joc waaaay too long. McKinstry has always had it and is 5 times better than Kiki. What’s the deal anyhow? Kiki was a 230 lifetime hitter and still thinks he’s a starter leadoff guy in Boston. I will never forget Belli’s first year which took an injury to an over the hill Agon to get Belli called up. It’s the Dodgers way to bury guys and make them press. Did it with Lux too never giving him confidence to have a position although he’s being given a better shot this year. Joc is hitting 119 and Kiki 219. They have sucked for years. The

    • You should look up some info on Branch Rickey. He had a clear philosophy on how and when to bring guys up. Obviously there are different rationals on how to do it, but it seems to be working for the Dodgers.

    • I agree with you about Pederson. He was never going to be more than what he showed since 2015–very low average, some power. But you make it sound like they are 35 years old. They are both still in their late 20s.

      Kike was a fine utility player and great clubhouse presence and had big postseason moments. The Dodgers didn’t hang onto him too long. Pederson had a few big postseason moments, too.

    • Regarding Pederson and Kike, they only held onto them as long as they were under team control. When they became free agents they let them go and replaced them w players from the farm system. The new players will be under team control for another 5 yrs. Smart!

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