Can James Outman Make the Dodgers’ Opening Day Roster?
Dodgers rookie James Outman is having himself a heck of a spring training so far. The outfielder has 6 hits in 13 at-bats for a .462 average, albeit in just 7 games. Still, the early success combined with his great audition with the club in 2022 where he also hit .462 in 4 games has Dodgers fans wanting more Outman.
In the offseason after LA let Cody Bellinger go via non-tender, it seemed like there was a strong likelihood of Outman getting a runway to the opening day job in center field. Since then, the club has added outfielders David Peralta and Jason Heyward, which has clouded up the outfield picture a bit early in spring.
But Dodger fans have spoken… and they want James Outman on that opening day roster.
As of publishing time, an overwhelming 95.9% of fans have seen enough out of Outman to know they want him on the opening day roster.
What Would Keep Outman Off the Opening Day Roster?
In short, roster manipulation. Outman still has minor league options left where players like Heyward or Trayce Thompson would need to be on the MLB roster or risk getting taken by other teams. The Dodgers signed David Peralta to play a lot of outfield for the club in 2023. And there’s a vested interest in seeing if Jason Heyward can return to form and if Thompson can replicate his success from the 2022 season.
Combine that with Mookie Betts playing most of his games in right field and Chris Taylor seeing a good amount of time in left field and Outman is sort of the odd man out…man.
What Does the Opening Day Roster Look Like Right Now?
On the position player side, there are still a couple question marks. After the loss of Gavin Lux, the new-look starting 9 is already coming together. The team will carry 13 position players on the roster on opening day. Here are the locks up to this point.
- Mookie Betts
- Freddie Freeman
- Will Smith
- Max Muncy
- J.D. Martinez
- Chris Taylor
- Miguel Rojas
- Miguel Vargas
- Austin Barnes
- David Peralta
- Trayce Thompson
Presumably, Trayce Thompson is a lock and, at this point, it seems like Jason Heyward is a lock for at least an opening day spot. That leaves one spot open on the bench. The decision Dave Roberts and the club will have to make is whether they want another outfielder on the roster or if there’s more of a need for an infielder like Yonny Hernandez, who has played well this spring.
If the team wants Outman to get the most at-bats, they’ll keep him in Triple-A until a clear role opens up at the big league level. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that making the opening day roster isn’t the most important thing in the world.