Dodgers’ James Outman is making an early push for Rookie of the Year
from Matthew Brown, with YardBarker.com/www.yardbarker.com
After earning a roster spot because of his strong spring training , Los Angeles Dodgers rookie James Outman has been vital to the team’s success and has made a strong early case for National League Rookie of the Year.
Outman showcased his talent again Thursday night against the Chicago Cubs, hitting two home runs that gave the Dodgers the lead, including a go-ahead grand slam in the ninth inning to give the Dodgers the lead and the eventual 6-2 win.
JAMES OUTMAN IS THAT GUY. pic.twitter.com/CIBt6ZmY7m
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) April 21, 2023
It was the first grand slam and a multi-homer game of Outman’s career.
“I definitely think that was the biggest situation of my career so far. It was really cool,” Outman said. “To be honest, just emotions took over. They were fired up. I was fired up. We were all fired up together.”
Per the in-depth and often niche page, OptaSTATS, Outman is the second player in MLB regular-season history to hit a ninth-inning grand slam on the road for his second go-ahead homer of the game, with the first being Babe Ruth.
Not only did Outman perform with the bat, but his defense shined as well. In the bottom of the fourth inning with Trey Mancini attempting to score the go-ahead run for the Cubs, Outman delivered a strike to catcher Austin Barnes, keeping the game tied 2-2.
James Outman prevents the go-ahead run from scoring with his arm. pic.twitter.com/t2NWeuNZsd
— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) April 21, 2023
Outman’s five home runs on the season is the second most on the team only behind Max Muncy and tied for second among all qualified rookies.
“I can’t say enough about him,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “Just to get his feet wet last year and he just keeps getting better, which is scary. The at-bat quality and the moment never gets too big for him.”
Outman does lead rookies in other categories, however. His .645 slugging percentage and 1.042 OPS is the best among all qualified rookies. His 0.9 fWAR, .413 xwOBA, and 157 wRC+ all lead rookies as well.
It’s way too early to predict, but Outman’s strong first few weeks of the season have definitely put him as a frontrunner to be the Dodger’s 19th rookie of the year.