James Outman did not have a guaranteed roster spot leading into the 2023 season, but he has proven that he is not only one of the top rookies this season, but one of the best overall players in general in the early season.
When Outman was originally brought up for his cup of coffee last season, he took advantage of his opportunity and proceeded to wreck havoc on offense (6-for-13, 1.409 OPS, 285 OPS+ in four games). Already with an outfield consisting of guys like Mookie Betts, Trayce Thompson, David Peralta, and Chris Taylor, Outman needed to prove that he belonged as a part of the Dodgers’ 26-man roster, and that he did with a strong spring training.
He’s thrived in regular playing time, starting 19 of the team’s 22 games so far. He hit two home runs on Saturday, part of a four-hit game, just two days after hitting two home runs on Thursday, including a game-winning grand slam.
Outman this season in in 81 plate appearances this season is leading all rookies in hits, home runs, RBI, OPS, and OPS+ among a plethora of statistics. He has also put himself in the same conversation with the legendary Babe Ruth due to his ability to produce in the clutch. His offensive production has kept this now 11-11 Dodgers team afloat, as Fabian Ardaya of the Athletic notes:
“The Dodgers’ decision to put Outman on the roster has gone as well, or even better, than anyone could have imagined. He’s launched first-impression homers at a prolific rate, leading all rookies with seven homers — more than any Dodgers rookie ever in March and April — and a 1.121 OPS.”
- Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times breaks down Max Muncy’s offensive dominance and his reaction to James Outman’s rise to stardom, as Muncy is now tied with Pete Alonso of the Mets for the Major League lead in home runs.
- Will Smith is recovering slowly from his concussion, and will likely miss the three-game series in Pittsburgh as well, writes Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register.