Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Los Angeles Dodgers prospect James Outman has done nothing but impress during 2023 Spring Training. He is among the players still under consideration to make the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster, but is competing with Jason Heyward, David Peralta, Chris Taylor and Trayce Thompson for playing time.
That may put Outman in Triple-A Oklahoma City to begin the season, but that is through no fault of his own.
The 25-year-old is batting .391/.464/.783 with one double, one triple, two home runs and eight RBI over 11 Cactus League games. But perhaps his most impressive performance came during a live batting practice session on the backfields at Camelback Ranch when Outman homered against Daniel Hudson, Evan Phillips and Caleb Ferguson.
After facing Outman, Hudson praised the left-handed hitter by jokingly calling him Babe Ruth, via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic:
“Second time facing hitters in eight months and I’ve got to face Babe Ruth over here,” Daniel Hudson joked after being one of several to give up a homer to Outman in live BPs. https://t.co/R7bQ98bBXB
— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) March 13, 2023
While homering off three quality relievers is a challenge and very impressive, it’s also encouraging that one of them came against a left-hander. Becoming a platoon player is always a concern for any young left-handed hitter, but if Outman can produce even average results against southpaws, that makes him all the more valuable.
Outman had a historic MLB debut but only appeared in four games for the Dodgers last season, hitting safely in three of those games and reaching in all four.
He also continued to hit well whether with Double-A Tulsa or Oklahoma City. With the OKC Dodgers, Outman hit .292/.390/627 with 15 home runs, 61 RBI and an impressive 1.017 on-base plus slugging.
James Outman may be victim of Dodgers roster crunch
With so many options for just two outfield spots, the Dodgers may find it beneficial to give Outman everyday playing time at Triple-A to begin the season while they sort out their options.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts acknowledged the prospect is capable of playing at the Major League level, but he hinted at the possibility Outman may still be behind the veterans on the depth chart which would likely keep him off the Opening Day roster.
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