While he may not be considered a prospect by some industry standards, 26-year-old Zach Reks is just another example of the strong outfield depth of the Dodgers, as he continues to impress with his bat almost every opportunity he is given.
Reks is one of 19 players not included on the club’s 40-man roster to be invited to the big league side of this year’s spring camp. So far during Cactus League play, the left-handed hitting, righty throwing Chicago native is batting a stellar .417/.588/.917 over his first 10 games. During that time, he has gone 5-for-12 with three doubles, one long ball and two RBI, primarily playing left field.
It goes without saying that one of the biggest parts of Reks’ game that has emerged recently is his power.
In 2018, the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder hit .303/.374/.424 with just five HR over 88 games between High-A Rancho and Double-A Tulsa. However, he finished his 2019 campaign slashing .291/.385/.536 with an impressive 28 homers, 21 doubles and 93 RBI over 121 combined games at Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City.
“Some little swing changes allowed me to use my lower half a little bit more efficiently and get the ball in the air a little more often,” Reks recently told Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times about his power surge. “I started figuring out how to get through the ball a little more and just trusted my bat-to-ball skills.”
His production at the plate is certainly one of the chief factors behind his invite to spring camp.
During his high school days, Reks hit an astonishing .609 over his career in league play at Carl Sandburg High School in Illinois.
After high school, Reks began his collegiate career at the U.S. Air Force Academy, but transferred to the University of Kentucky after his sophomore year. Upon his arrival at Kentucky, he decided to tryout for the team as a walk-on after having been convinced by one of his friends and future teammates.
Over his two years as a Wildcat, he hit .344 with 10 homers, 21 doubles and 66 RBI.
Following his selection in the 10th round of the 2017 MLB draft, Reks still had enough time to hit .317/.384/.391 with two HR and 12 RBI over 47 combined games with rookie level Ogden, Low-A Great Lakes and Rancho that same year.
In late April of 2019, Reks was named Texas League Player of the Week after going 11-for-20 and hitting two home runs during a six-game hitting streak over a seven-game span. After being promoted to OKC in mid-May, he launched a three-run bomb against Omaha in his very first AB. One night later, he added his second-career Triple-A long ball in a losing cause.
Looking towards the 2020 season, Reks will conceivably be one of the featured bats in the middle of the Oklahoma City batting order. Still, with talent like DJ Peters, Cody Thomas and Luke Raley right beside him—not to mention the seven other outfielders ahead of him on the big league roster—there’s no way to tell exactly where Reks lines up in the organizational pecking order.
“You know there are people in front of you and a lot of talent in the organization, but you can only control what you can control,” Reks said.