James Outman broke a 2-2 tie against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night with a grand slam in the top of the ninth inning. The young outfielder has performed admirably to open the 2023 season for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Dave Roberts previously admitted that he’s been impressed by Outman’s play, and the Dodgers’ manager revealed the secret behind Outman’s success on Friday, per SportsNet LA.
“It’s interesting… you’re supposed to punish, or take advantage of balls in the strike zone,” Roberts told reporters before Friday’s Dodgers-Cubs game. “But it’s easier said than done. James is earning good pitches in the strike zone because he’s done a great job of laying off pitches out of the strike zone. And then the next most important part is to move it forward and hit it hard, and he’s doing that, I would say better than anyone on our ball club.”
When the Dodgers released Cody Bellinger during the offseason, the question immediately turned to who would replace him? LA needed a player to step up. Trayce Thompson was obviously a candidate, and he’s enjoyed some strong moments so far in 2023, but James Outman is stealing the show.
Outman, through 20 games (73 plate appearances), is slashing .290/.397/.645 with a 1.042 OPS and five home runs. He’s produced impressive power while maintaining consistency as a pure hitter. Outman also offers defensive versatility for the Dodgers, possessing the capability to play any three of the outfield positions.
There’s no denying the fact that Outman has been a bright spot amid the Dodgers’ otherwise forgettable start to the 2023 season.
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