When the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Billy McKinney in a trade with the New York Mets on July 21, it was to provide depth to an injury-depleted roster.
Since being added to the active roster one day after the trade, McKinney has played in 21 of the Dodgers’ 23 games, with 15 starts in right field.
Although the 26-year-old is only hitting .204/.290/.383 with the team, manager Dave Roberts has continued to stick with the right fielder as the Dodgers wait for Mookie Betts to recover from his latest hip trouble.
“The value is it’s a good at-bat. In the eight-hole, he’s not there to carry the offense,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of McKinney. “He’s there to take good at-bats, see pitches and turn the lineup over, which he has done.”
McKinney does have some of the best plate discipline in baseball, and when he does swing, is usually good at making contact. He is in the 90th percentile of chase rate, 78th percentile for walk percentage and 64th percentile for whiff percentage, according to Statcast.
“With our roster where it’s at, he’s a couple grades better than anyone else we could put out there,” Roberts said. “You still have to prevent runs to win baseball games.”
He is also providing the Dodgers with solid defense in right field as he has four defensive runs saved and an ultimate zone rating of 4.4 this season. McKinney showed off his arm in Monday’s win by nailing Ke’Bryan Hayes on his attempt to go first to third on a base hit.
He is also in the 82nd percentile of outfield jump and he is second among Dodger outfielders with one out above average and one run prevented.
McKinney also got the proverbial monkey off his back this week by slugging a home run. It was his first with the Dodgers and came at a crucial time as it pulled them even late in the game with the Pirates.
McKinney enjoying Dodgers, Dodger Stadium
Having spent stretches with multiple teams, McKinney is fully soaking in the opportunities being provided with the Dodgers and in particular when playing at Dodger Stadium.
“The roar of the crowd, it kind of gives me chills just thinking about it,” McKinney said. “Even coming here as a road player, I’ve been here once or twice, it’s just so cool. The fans are so driven and it’s really cool to see and watch.
“Just honored and blessed to be on this side of the dugout now. It was really exciting.”
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