2021 felt like a bridge year for the Dodgers and their vaunted “utility outfielder” role.
Long held by the versatile Chris Taylor, and caddied by Kiké Hernández, Los Angeles chose to carry newcomer Zach McKinstry on their Opening Day roster to get a little taste of what life might be like after CT3’s departure.
After all, his free agency’s on the horizon, and as much as this team loved Hernández, they opted to address other priorities this offseason and likely will again when the time comes to re-sign, say, the World Series MVP.
So far, so extremely good for McKinstry in a supporting role, and that spotlight seems likely to only further expand in the coming days.
In 11 at-bats, the 26-year-old has already rocked six hits, four of which have gone for extra bases (a trio of doubles and a dinger).
After Taylor suffered an elbow injury Monday night, leading to numbness and soreness despite negative X-rays, there should only be more chances these next several days for McKinstry to show why he’s the future of this position with the Dodgers.
Take your time, CT. No rush. He’ll be here when you get back.
The newest Dodgers weapon Zach McKinstry is raking.
McKinstry’s the kind of guy who was built for this, but who also saw his own success sneak up on him a bit. After all, what kind of major league hopeful still has his alma mater in his Twitter handle?
A guy who doesn’t care about optics, just rakes, and shows love to those who came before him. That’s who.
All told, McKinstry went 3-for-4 with a ninth-inning double Tuesday, and underscored his trademark versatility by starting in left, shifting to second, then heading back to the outfield to complete the performance.
Since an Opening Day hiccup, the Dodgers have been rolling, proving why they’re the preeminent franchise in Major League Baseball.
A large portion of that persistence has been based on the sheer length of this lineup, with stars like Gavin Lux and McKinstry finding themselves the odd men out on occasion.
While Taylor’s laid up (and Cody Bellinger as well, after being spiked), LA can continue proceeding per usual thanks to their 26-year-old hidden gem. No need to take the foot off the gas pedal; these guys go full throttle, too.