The Los Angeles Dodgers are used to playing with the future in mind. They have won 9 out of 10 National League West titles.
The Dodgers have not missed the playoffs since 2012. When the clock turns to August, the Dodgers know it is time to crank up the intensity of their game.
Since the calendar turned to August and the temperature turned to triple digits, the Dodgers have only lost one game. They’re sweeping the teams that are in last place and taking 3 out of four from their modern-day rivals from down south.
At the beginning of the season, I predicted the Dodgers to make it into the playoffs as the Wild Card team based on their offseason acquisitions, reliance on rookies, and the strengthening of the Padres team. A cruel lie I sold myself. As of August 16th, the Dodgers lead the division by 9 games, and the Padres are 16 games behind them, and their rookies are one of the reasons they will win the division.
One of the reasons the Dodgers continue to win is their farm system development. Since the beginning of the season, Dave Roberts and the front office have had to rely on 5 different rookies. Two rookies have remained with the team since they were called up. Bobby Miller pitched against the Brewers and was removed after 6 innings with 74 pitches because Roberts wanted to manage his innings. James Outman went 1-4 against the Brewers and had a diving catch in center field.
The rookies are here to stay.
James Outman becomes a starter and an important part of the Dodgers lineup in terms of his offense and defensive skills.
During the month of August, Outman has improved multiple aspects of his game.
Here are his numbers from his slumping months to August.
Dave Roberts trusted the rookie; he stuck with him even during his rough summer patch. James Outman repaid Roberts by improving his offensive numbers and a highlight reel of defensive gems.
During the Dodgers series against the Padres, Outman stole a home run from Fernando Tatis Jr. in Petco Park. On his next at-bat, Outman hit a home run off Darvish.
This is what confidence does to a player. Outman has shined throughout the field and is a big part of why the Dodgers lead the division by 9 games.
Meanwhile, Bobby Miller has pitched himself onto the starting rotation. Since his call-up, he has a 7-2 record, with a 3.70 ERA and 1.17 WHIP.
He has faced the same growing pains that Outman faced in the middle months of his professional career.
Here are his numbers throughout the months:
As a starting pitcher, Miller’s performances have come out of necessity. Kershaw and Urias spent significant time on the injured list. But Miller has shown Roberts and the front office his time to be in the starting rotation is now.
The trust inflicted on Bobby Miller has developed him into a bonafide 5th starter of the starting rotation.
Both Outman and Miller seem to be in the Dodgers’ playoff plans. Outman is the starting center fielder in the majority of the games. Roberts had Miller’s workload in mind when removing him after 6 innings.
It’s time the rookies shine bright under the lights of October; they’ve earned it.