James Outman had an extremely unique 2022 season with his debut season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Outman was added to the Dodgers’ 40-man roster last November. He started the year in Double-A Tulsa. On June 29, Outman was promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
On July 31, Outman made his major league debut in Denver against the Rockies. I was lucky enough to be in attendance sitting directly above the Dodgers’ bullpen. While I consider myself quite intelligent, I am occasionally baffled by the concept of time zones. On this particular muggy day in Denver, I showed up two hours early. I spent that hour wandering around the stadium before returning to my seat to watch Tony Gonsolin warm up. Then I noticed James Outman warming up in the outfield.
Before I got to the game, I was hopeful that he was going to start that day. By the time I had my lunch and made it to my seat, I knew he was going to be in the starting lineup. I thought it would be neat if Outman had himself a day. I dreamt the night before that Outman homered in his first at-bat on the first pitch. I was wrong — it took three pitches.
If Outman had just homered, his debut would have already been memorable. But Outman just kept hitting and developed the quirk that would define his 2022 season at the major league level.
If James Outman put the ball in play with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2022, it would go for a hit. Otherwise, he would strike out. Outman was literally a two-outcome player in the four games he played at the major league level.
Outman played the finale of the Rockies series, which also happened to be the finale of visits to Denver in 2022, and then he played in three of the four games in San Francisco. Originally, I had not planned to go to any of the games in San Francisco, but after Vin Scully passed and I was pressed into service, I felt it was important that I be at the next Dodgers-Giants game in San Francisco. So on August 3, I was there and, once again, there was James Outman.
After the August 4 game in San Francisco, he was optioned back to Oklahoma City where he would remain for the rest of the year. James Outman managed to hit for the cycle twice in a span of four games at the end of August.
While Outman was not selected for the postseason roster or even a September call-up, he likely will play into the club’s plans for 2023 and beyond.
Stats: .462/.563/.846, 1 HR, 2 doubles, 3 RBI, 1.409 OPS, 288 wRC+ with the Dodgers; in the minors: .294/.393/.586, 31 HR, 31 doubles, 106 RBI, 13 SB, 70 BB, 152 K
Game of the year
By definition, Outman’s game of the year was his debut on July 31 in Denver. Joe Davis had one of his more memorable home run calls of the year with this home run. The most electrifying debut since Yasiel Puig? I think so.
Outman is on the 40-man roster and under team control, with all of six days of major league service time. Outman has two option years remaining, and retains his rookie status for 2023.