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Dodgers: Kiké Hernández Who? Zach McKinstry Is Quickly Making Us Forget



When the Dodgers lost Kiké Hernández to the Boston Red Sox this winter, it was a hard pill to swallow. During his time in Los Angeles, he spoiled us with his quirky personality and his dominant postseason performances. He quickly became a fan favorite which made it much more difficult to say goodbye. However, the emergence of new utility man Zach McKinstry has quickly been making us forget all about Kiké.

Or at least lessen the pain. 

Sunday’s matchup against the Washington Nationals featured a pair of first ballot Hall of Fame pitchers going toe-to-toe. Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer both put on a clinic while on the mound as each pitcher matched the other, that was until Zach Attack got to the plate. After the game Kershaw told the media that McKinstry was a “ball player.”

He also compared him to the none other than Kiké himself.

“He’s like the left-handed-hitting Kiké, doing the things Kiké used to do. He’s filled in with Belly and Mookie out, and he’s done such a great job. And he has some thump, too, man. He can really hit.”

Boy can he really hit. So far this season, McKinstry is batting .321 with 6 extra-base hits (2 home runs) and a team leading 10 RBIs. In Sunday’s 3-0 victory he hit his second home run, his first that went over the fence, while also driving in all of the team’s runs. While it’s a small sample size, the left-handed swinging utility-man is also hitting .364 against lefties. Having the ability to hit both right and left-handed pitching is a huge bonus to his chances to continue to play moving forward.

The former 33-round pick has also flashed some leather and expanded his versatility on the field. He’s a second baseman by trade but has already appeared in handful of games in the outfield with the likes of Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts being sidelined. Although it was unfamiliar territory for him, he’s not to be slept on.

Final Thoughts

During Spring training, the 25-year old impressed and won the last roster spot heading into the new season. Since then, he hasn’t looked back. When Bellinger and Betts eventually make it back to the starting lineup, finding playing time for McKinstry should be at the top of his list. While Kiké Hernández will always have a special place in the hearts of Dodger fans, Zach is part of the future and is off to a solid start to his young career.

Could he make a run at becoming the 2021 NL Rookie of the Year?

NEXT: Missing Both Mookie and Cody, LA’s Next Man Up Mentality is Paying Off Early

Written by Adam Salcido

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  1. That 364 BA against LHP really stands out. This guy can hit against any pitcher. So far he has a little more power, and both of his HRs against RHP, but he still has a 900 OPS against LHPs. This makes him a true utility guy offensively as well as defensively. He may cool off a little bit as pitchers figure him out, but so far he looks like super utility guy. He needs to stay with the big team even when Bellinger and Mookie are ready to go. He should be a regular fixture on this team.

  2. Everyone is pulling for Zach to succeed. So far so good! It’s really early so we will have to wait to see if opposing pitchers figure him out and how he reacts to struggles. I’m optimistic about his chances to succeed.
    I am concerned about Lux’s offense tailing off and believe the Dodgers are deliberately avoiding having McKinstry and Lux compete at second base. They’re showing confidence in both these guys, as they should. I really hope Gavin fulfills his potential, he’s got a quick bat and seems to make contact often. If not, you know McWho could be waiting in the wings. Still, way too early to know anything at this point. Ditto on most of this for Rios as well.

  3. Lest we forget, Kiké Hernández slash line in his first 76 games with Dodgers: .307/.346/.490/.836 with a 131 OPS+; 12 doubles, 2 triples, 7 home runs.

  4. Here’s a simple thought. Once Bellinger and Betts return get rid of Lux and put Zach at 2nd base. Sure, Lux started off batting hot but now has cooled down substantially. He looks completely lost when at the plate once again. Too many strikeouts. Plus, some of his throws to first base have been atrocious. Good thing Muncy is doing a decent job getting his wild throws. Defensively, Lux can get to the ball but he just rushes his throws.

  5. We will never forget Kike, this title can be read as being disrespectful to Kike. Both players are great but we can’t dismiss what Kike did on and off the field.

  6. I’m still pissed at the hit he got ripped off from when the official scorer called it a fielders choice when Seager overslid third on what should have been an obvious bunt single. What differentiates McKinstry from the typical flash in the pan is Pollock, Taylor, and Kershaw have all gone out of their way to rave about his swing and approach, these guys see him every day and notice something special.

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