McKinstry Wants To Be the Dodger Utility Fielder

Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2021

Wednesday was photo day for all Major-League teams, but the Los Angeles Dodgers took live batting practice. Both Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May impressed as they vie for spots on the Dodger pitching staff.

When Kiké Hernández elected to leave as a free agent for the Boston Red Sox, he left a glaring hole on the Dodgers. Chris Taylor, a candidate for the everyday starting second base job, is the proven Dodger utility fielder. Although Taylor’s defense, particularly at shortstop, is good, he is not on the same level as Hernández.

While manager Dave Roberts understands no player can replace Hernández, who could win a Gold Glove at every position on the diamond, he feels like the Dodgers need another utility fielder to get through the strenuous 162-game schedule. Matt Beatty will have opportunities in left field, and at first and third base, but he, who proclaimed his most comfortable position on the diamond was the left-handed batter’s box, is not a middle infielder.

Coming off a 60-game season, the Dodgers, like every other team, will need a utility infielder because players probably will need more rest than normal. The Dodgers have a rookie named Zack McKinstry who wants to be a utility fielder. Last spring training McKinstry impressed, but he did not have much opportunity to play in the Major Leagues during the abbreviated 2020 season.

Last spring McKinstry demonstrated a unique ability to play everywhere. He also had power to all fields. Now, with a new deadened ball, baseball should not see as many home runs as the sport had seen during the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

In the Minor Leagues, McKinstry had a high batting average. During the shortened 2020 season, he made his Major-League debut and played in 4 games with a .286 batting average and .714 on-base plus slugging percentage. The Dodgers hope McKinstry can be an outstanding utility fielder, and he might challenge Gavin Lux for the starting second base job.

Leave a Reply