Each year in Spring Training, there is typically a Minor League player or two that stand out for their unexpected contributions on the field. Playing the part for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2020 are Zach McKinstry and Cody Thomas.
McKinstry, selected by the organization in the 33rd round of the 2016 MLB Draft, had been a relative unknown until breaking out last season. He hit a combined .300/.366/.516 with 24 doubles, six triples, 19 home runs and 78 RBI between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City.
McKinstry has picked up right where he left off in Cactus League play, batting a stellar .364/.417/.773 with one double, one triple, two home runs and six RBI across 24 plate appearances (12 games).
Thomas has also wowed some of his Dodgers teammates with his power display, hitting a team-leading five home runs while appearing in 11 games thus far.
To no surprise, Max Muncy identified McKinstry and Thomas as two players that have caught his eye, both for their performance at the plate and demeanor off the field, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“It just seems like they’re both having good at-bats, playing good defense,” Muncy said. “Both driving the ball well. For a couple young guys coming up, that’s not always easy to do in your first big league camp. They’re trying to make an impression and they’re doing a really good job of it. They’re doing it the right way. They’ve been working really hard and that stands out the most. What I’ve noticed the most is what they’re doing off the field. Going about their business and being quiet.”
With a goal of advancing to the Major League level this season, it’s notable that a player of Muncy’s caliber has recognized the important qualities McKinstry and Thomas bring to the clubhouse.
McKinstry arguably stands a greater chance of seeing time with the Dodgers this year as he was added to the 40-man roster over the offseason to make him ineligible for the 2019 Rule 5 Draft.
Even before players reported to Camelback Ranch for Spring Training, Gavin Lux had raved about McKinstry’s ability to do it all on the field. He has yet to appear on any major rankings of the franchise’s top prospects, but is clearly already making a name for himself.
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