The Dodgers have already seen huge dividends pay off by relying on their younger players to step up in key situations, and nobody has stepped up to the plate— both literally and figuratively— more than outfielder James Outman.
When Outman was called up for a brief cup of coffee last season, he put up ridiculous numbers, including a .462 batting average and an OPS+ making him 184 percent better than the average major league hitter. Nobody could’ve predicted, not even Outman himself, that he would be able to ride that meteoric rise into the next season.
After a torrid spring which catapulted his stock within the team, Outman was named to the opening day roster for the first time in his career. It has been an opportunity that he has gripped tightly. So far, the batting average has fallen a bit, currently batting .286, yet he still possesses the ability to get on base nearly half the time (.474 OBP) with a monstrous 1.260 OPS.
The sample size has been minuscule— just 35 official at bats in 10 games of play so far in his big league career. The Dodgers have been convinced that he is a key part of their lineup, as Matt Borelli of Dodger Blue notes that Jason Heyward has been fond of Outman’s production, especially his two-triple game in Monday’s win over the Rockies:
“To me, one thing that stands out about Outman, one of his triples, he was just up there with the intent of getting the guy over. He ends up hitting a triple, I think couple RBIs out of that. That was really nice for us and for him just trying to play the game the right away.”
- The Dodgers elected to turn to Michael Grove in Monday’s win against the Colorado Rockies after injuries to Tony Gonsolin and Ryan Pepiot, but that decision could’ve all been for naught. Clint Pasillas of Sports Illustrated details how Grove persevered through an illness that almost prevented him from starting.
- Despite missing Tuesday night’s game after getting hit by a pitch on his thumb, Miguel Vargas has been an on base machine through his first three games of play, drawing seven base on balls. Juan Toribio of mlb.com has more on Vargas’ unprecedented start to his season.