Dodgers Spring Training Rookie Standouts: DJ Peters, Zach McKinstry and More Names to Know

We are past the first week of exhibition games of the 2021 season for the Dodgers. Some of the best stories have been about some the of prospects in the system. Some are battling for Opening Day Major League roster spots while others are trying to make their mark in front of the Major League coaching staff.

On our sister site, Dodgers2080.com, I’ve been highlighting prospects that have been making themselves noticeable. We’ll take a look at how some of the prospects have done after the first week.

Zach McKinstry

The top choice to replace Kiké Hernandez is off to a good start. He has four hits in ten at-bats while starting at second base, shortstop, and center field. So far, he has only helped make the case for an Opening Day roster spot.

DJ Peters

DJ Peters, the local Glendora boy, is off to a great start. He’s been getting a lot of playing time in centerfield as Cody Bellinger is still recovering from shoulder surgery. Peters is an excellent athlete with big power. His biggest well-known weakness is his strikeout rate. He does have three strikeouts in twelve plate appearances but is slashing .444/.583/1.111 (AVG/OBP/SLG). I am not sure if there is a roster spot for him but it looks like he is going to make the decision difficult for Dodgers brass.

James Outman

Although he doesn’t show up on many prospect lists, James Outman is obviously in the mind of the Dodgers as he is getting some starts in centerfield and has many at-bats as some regulars. In his first start, he had three excellent catches and a game-tying double. I don’t see Outman as challenging for a roster spot yet but there is a chance he can move all the way up to Triple-A at some point of the 2021 season.

Garrett Cleavinger and Alex Vesia

The Dodgers traded for Garrett Cleavinger in late December to battle for a spot in the bullpen as a left-handed option. After a rough first outing, he has been strong in his next two. Alex Vesia was acquired from the Marlins in the Dylan Floro trade to also battle for a lefty bullpen spot. My guess is that Cleavinger and Vesia are battling Scott Alexander for the last bullpen spot. If I had to pick one now it would be Cleavinger.

The Right-Handers

André Jackson, Michael Grove, Nick Robertson, Ryan Pepiot, Bobby Miller, Josiah Gray, Landon Knack, Edwin Uceta, and Gerardo Carrillo have all had their moments to shine. Keep your eyes on these guys as they are all very well regarded.

André Jackson has thrown two excellent innings and pitched well in the same game that Kody Hoese hit a homerun.

Ryan Pepiot flashed his amazing change up.

2020 first-round pick Bobby Miller gave us a sample of why the Dodgers took him so early.

Sheldon Neuse

The Dodgers acquired Sheldon Neuse from the A’s in the Adam Kolarek trade to possibly fill a utility role as a right-handed bat. He started a bit slow but now has four hits in his team-leading twelve at-bats.

Michael Busch

One of the hottest prospects in the Dodgers farm system is Michael Busch. Frankly, I want to see him get more at-bats. His swing is great to watch.

Some Final Thoughts

Doug McKain had me on his podcast to talk about prospects that are breaking out.

Over the next week the Dodgers will start to option a few players off the roster so enjoy watching these top prospects while you can. It seems the rookies with the best chance of making the Opening Day Roster are Zach McKinstry, DJ Peters, Garrett Cleavinger, Alex Vesia, and Sheldon Neuse. There are just a little more than three weeks until Opening Day so decisions will be made soon.

Please come visit us at Dodgers 2080 for our continued coverage of the Dodgers prospects throughout Spring Training.

NEXT: Gavin Lux Enters 2021 With A New Confidence, And It Shows

Tim Rogers

A fan of the Dodgers since 1973 since I got my first baseball cards while living in Long Beach. I came to San Diego for college and never left nor did I ever switch my Dodgers' allegiance. Some know me as the "sweater guy". #ProspectHugger

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