James Outman’s successful start to the season helps me forget about the Dodgers’ problems. Coming into the season, the Dodgers were entering the new year with a significantly different team from the previous year.
Veterans like Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger left the team and signed elsewhere. The front office had a remarkably quiet off-season. During which they signed a number of 1-year contracts with players like Noah Syndergaard and David Peralta. The Dodgers’ front office decided to rely on rookies like Miguel Vargas and James Outman to fill the holes in the team.
At a glance, the LA Dodgers seem to have lost a lot of important players without replacing them and are likely destined to finish the season as one of the Wild Card teams. In their first month of the season, their record is a reflection of what their season is likely to be–always flirting with .500.
As of April 25th, the Dodgers are one game above .500. Throughout the month, they have played inconsistent baseball. Sometimes, their offense has games where they score in big chunks. On other occasions, they have games where the opposing pitcher has a perfect game going into the 8th inning. They are currently leading the league in home runs, and several of their players were a little too busy nine months ago, which resulted in them making many visits to the paternity list.
During a month of inconsistencies, the player that remains consistent is James Outman. Since the start of the season, Outman has hit .311, with 7 home runs, 19 RBIs, and has struck out 34% of his at-bats. James Outman also throws out baserunners from the outfield and moves up and down the lineup without losing productivity.
Watching homegrown players leave the organization is painful. Fans are attached to and follow the careers of players like Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager since they are from the time they are drafted into the organization. When the homegrown players leave to make room for other homegrown players, it makes saying goodbye a lot easier.
James Outman’s game is making me question why the team didn’t let Bellinger go sooner.
Outman started the season with a bang. On Opening day, he went 2 for 3. He scored 2 runs, walked once, and hit his first home run in front of the Dodgers Stadium faithful.
Since then, Outman’s productivity has been masking my feelings toward Chris Taylor’s horrible start. Each home run he hits helps me forget that the Dodgers starting rotation needs a lot of improvement. Whenever Outman throws an outfield assist, he helps me forget how heavily the team relies on home runs to score.
The Dodgers famously develop players to excel in the majors. They have had several players win the Rookie of the Year award, which is named after a Dodgers player–Jackie Robinson. The last two players from the organization to win the award are Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger.
At the moment, James Outman is putting together numbers that make him the leading candidate for the NL Rookie of the Year award. The season he’s putting together thus far gives fans hope that the Dodgers can repeat as National League West champions. His ability to consistently hit is making me wonder why the team doesn’t call up more of the homegrown players in the system.
Let the kids play. The front office should showcase the kind of players the Angels can have. A player like the legendary Ohtani can fix a lot of the problems the Dodgers face, as long as the front office doesn’t include James Outman in that package deal.
He’s here to stay.