Major League Baseball is a tough career path for anyone, even the chosen few who make it to the upper levels of the mountaintop and get to play the advanced version of this child’s game for a living.
McKinstry started his first full year in Los Angeles off quite strong in April, breaking camp as the team’s roving infielder/outfielder and batting .314 with pop entering April 20 … the night he went 0-3 before succumbing to an oblique strain that knocked him out for six weeks.
When he returned, his body made the subconscious decision to play the rest of the season on “Hard Mode.”
McKinstry’s return to relevance was capped this past weekend when he destroyed a grand slam in a weekend comeback series against the Chicago Cubs, which was partially an example of his pure and true swing and partially an example of him solving an extremely solve-able problem.
Turns out the 26-year-old realized in recent weeks that, upon his return, he’d begun to hack at baseballs with his eyes closed. Yeah, that’ll make a tough game tougher.
Dodgers utility man Zach McKinstry has been swinging with his eyes closed.
Um…maybe…that was my problem, too? Gonna go back to the halls of my high school and check in with my old coach, that simply has to be why I didn’t make the minors. Eye stuff. Doy.
A cursory glance at the game logs will convince you McKinstry figured the whole thing out on June 13 against the Rangers when he piled up a 3-3 day after only recording two hits in the 10 games he’d appeared in previously.
Thanks to that day, McKinstry has bolstered his average from .236 to .259 with a 112 OPS+ on the year, showing flashes of what he can likely do when given a full season’s worth of at-bats.
Will Chris Taylor be back with the Dodgers next year? No way of knowing, but … it’s not quite as cut-and-dried a decision as it seemed to be earlier in the season now that he’s arguably the team’s MVP.
We’ll take this level of wide-eyed production from McKinstry, though, and his granny from the weekend stands as an excellent submission for his personal reel.
Eyes on the prize now, it seems.
Both of ’em.