Dodger utility man Zach McKinstry is having a much different Spring Training this year. After being a relative unknown in 2020 camp, McKinstry is now an identified commodity.
Provided McKinstry makes the roster, he pencils in nicely to the utility man spot vacated by Enrique Hernandez. The 25-year-old can play second base, shortstop, third base, and even some outfield, but he revealed which position he’s been practicing the most this spring in an interview with AM 570’s David Vassegh this week.
“I take a lot of ground balls. It’s usually Gavin and I at second base.”
Between AA and AAA in 2019, the versatile McKinstry appeared in 52 of his 127 games at second, 46 at short, 12 at third, and the remaining 17 in the outfield. He posted a .300 batting average while recording 19 home runs, 78 RBI, and six triples.
McKinstry also commented on his notoriety as compared to last year.
“It’s been really cool. The guys know my name – from Spring Training last year and Summer Camp. Just being around those guys. When you come in, they actually know who you are. They have a face to the name now.”
The left-handed hitter is slashing .348/.348/.478 in 23 at-bats this spring. The Dodgers staff has taken notice.
? Zach McKinstry 2-run HR! ? pic.twitter.com/AbbvDVagoe
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) March 15, 2021
Los Angeles will certainly have options at second base. Lux is primed to get the majority of the starts, but both McKinstry and Chris Taylor provide quality depth at the position.
Andrew Friedman has some tough decisions to make with veterans who cannot be optioned to the minors. It’s not a given that McKinstry makes the Opening Day roster.
— Blue Heaven (A Dodgers Podcast) (@BlueHeavenPod) March 19, 2021
However, it would be a surprise if he didn’t spend long stretches with the big club.
If he does need to be called up, he won’t need to introduce himself in the clubhouse this time around.