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Dodgers like what these youngsters are showing

@kengurnick
March 4, 2020

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As if the Dodgers don’t already have enough marquee stars, they also have quite a few under-the-radar types who are making positive impressions at Camelback Ranch this Spring Training. Here are a few who have caught the eye of the veterans they hope to one day join

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As if the Dodgers don’t already have enough marquee stars, they also have quite a few under-the-radar types who are making positive impressions at Camelback Ranch this Spring Training.

Here are a few who have caught the eye of the veterans they hope to one day join in the lineup:

Zach McKinstry, INF
He’s a 33rd-round Draft pick out of Central Michigan who said he’s patterned his game style after Pete Rose, and you don’t hear that much nowadays. McKinstry hit almost .400 in a one-month promotion to Triple-A last year, but he’s likely to reach the big leagues at some point this year.

Cody Thomas, OF
Once the backup quarterback to Baker Mayfield at the University of Oklahoma, Thomas committed full time to baseball in 2016 and has been playing catch-up for missed time. After playing all of 2019 at Double-A, this spring he’s shown big league power and might get a Triple-A Oklahoma City challenge to start the season.

“I’ll give you two: Cody Thomas and Zach McKinstry. It just seems like they’re both having good at-bats, playing good defense. 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.” -- Max Muncy

“Cody Thomas. Great athlete. Tons of power. That’s an impressive combination.” -- Enrique Hernández

Dennis Santana, RHP (No. 10 Dodgers prospect)
The converted shortstop was hurt in 2018 and got roughed up at Triple-A last year, but he’s improved his crossfire mechanics and has always wracked up the strikeouts. Santana figures to return to Triple-A to begin the season.

“Dennis has impressed me, his attitude, how committed he is. He’s trying to get better and that’s what I see in this guy this year.” -- Kenley Jansen

Victor Gonzalez, LHP
He’s no longer overlooked after being added to the 40-man roster this winter and handed the ball for a spring start. Signed as a 16-year-old in 2012, Gonzalez missed all of 2017 with Tommy John surgery and was limited by rehab in ’18, but he was impressive at three Minor League levels last year.

“I’ve been a big fan of Victor’s for a long time. We played in Low-A together. Really happy for Victor. He just makes pitches, always has. What I remember about playing with him, it wasn’t always prettiest, but seemed like he’d always make the big pitch. That’s a good thing to have.” -- Walker Buehler

Cristian Santana, 3B
Unprotected and unpicked from the December Rule 5 Draft, the 23-year-old is in his seventh professional season. He hit .301 last season at Double-A Tulsa and is looking for a promotion to Triple-A for 2020.

“I’ve watched him, taken ground balls with him. Really, really polished at third. Enjoyed watching him. Obviously McKinstry and Cody Thomas are having big camps.” -- Justin Turner

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.