Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Can’t Say Enough Nice Things About James Outman
Dodgers rookie outfielder James Outman is turning himself into a household name early in the 2023 season. Last year, Outman began his MLB career with a bang, homering in his first career at-bat. He ended up going 6-for-13 in limited time, putting his name on the map for Dodger fans.
Then, Outman was red hot all of spring training, ultimately earning himself a spot on the Dodgers Opening Day roster. Then, he was placed in the Opening Day lineup — and, you guessed it, hit a home run.
Outman has continued his dominance all April, leading up to Thursday’s win over the Cubs, when he put the Dodgers on his back with two home runs and five RBIs, including the go-ahead grand slam in the 9th inning of a tied ballgame.
After the game, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was asked about his budding star. He had some high praise for the 25-year-old.
“He just keeps getting better, which is scary,” Roberts said. “For a young player to want to be in that spot, that says a lot about him. This is a pretty fun and crazy environment, but to handle himself like he did and have that big hit and homer earlier — it’s going to be fun to watch his growth.”Via SNLA
The praise didn’t stop there, though. On Friday, ahead of the Dodgers’ day game against the Cubs, Roberts was again asked about Outman — and again had some very high praise for him. He even went as far as saying he’s better than anyone on the team in one specific category.
“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,” Roberts said. “And then the next most important part is to move it forward and hit it hard, and he’s just doing that, I would say, better than anyone on our ball club.”Via SNLA
To say Outman is doing something better than anyone on a team that features MVPs Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman is telling. But, early in the year, Roberts is right.
Outman has been great at punishing mistakes and, like Roberts said, is earning those pitches by laying off of non-strikes.
He’s doing everything you could ask for from an everyday player, which is why Roberts has to start playing him that way.
Earlier this season, Roberts said he wanted to avoid platooning Outman — but then continued to sit him against lefties. Now, though, he has no choice but to have him in the lineup every single day.
The Dodgers lineup is better when Outman is in there, and he needs to continue to get consistent at-bats to keep getting better. Fortunately, on Friday, Roberts proved he can do it, having Outman in the lineup against a lefty.
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Outman is rocking MLB. I hope it continues!!!