Wednesday was full of headlines for the Dodgers. As the cards aligned during a through a 7-5 victory over the Padres to make LA the first team in baseball to clinch a playoff berth, several personnel moves finally gave one rookie his opportunity.
25-year-old infield prospect Zach McKinstry made his major league debut yesterday without much fanfare. The pinch hit appearance was made possible after outfielder Joc Pederson was placed on the family medical emergency list, which immediately was a huge cause of concern to the fanbase.
However, trudging forward, as they say, McKinstry came up to the plate as a pinch hitter for Justin Turner at Petco Park in San Diego on Wednesday, September 17 in the bad year and struck out on 5 pitches. And with that, he officially became a big leaguer.
After the game, the Ohio native thanked everyone that made it all possible.
9/16/2020 is a day that I will always remember! Thank you to my family, friends, and teammates for your support. Thank you to all of my coaches for lessons learned. Thank you dodgers and fans for believing in me. #Dodgers
— Zach McKinstry (@ZachCMU) September 17, 2020
McKinstry became the latest Dodger to make his debut from LA’s 2016 super draft that netted them gems like Will Smith, Gavin Lux, Dustin May, among others. In four-plus minor league seasons, the infielder has posted a .773 OPS with 105 extra base hits in 356 games.
Where he really burst onto the scene was during spring training (1.0) this year where he hit .414 with a 1.314 OPS in 16 games for the Dodgers. From there he went from low level prospect to potential contributor at the major league level.
As the Dodgers stand to lose Enrique Hernandez and potentially Justin Turner in the offseason, having another utility type infielder who can hit a little bit may be just what the doctor orders for the future.
Welcome to the show, Zach!