James Outman is on fire to open spring

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Outman cannot be stopped so far.

Fans everywhere were calling for James Outman to get another chance in the majors towards the end of last season.

His only stint with the Dodgers came around the trade deadline, and it only lasted four games before he was demoted on August 5th. In those four games, Outman put on a show, homering in his first MLB plate appearance and posting a 1.409 OPS.

Now, he’s dominating alongside major leaguers once again. Through seven spring training games, Outman has a similar 1.375 OPS, including a .462 batting average that is identical to his Dodgers stint last year.

Fans are once again campaigning for Outman to get a major league roster spot. At 25 years old, he is certainly not too young for it. His performance on televised games makes him appear to fans like an easy choice.

Additionally, Outman brings value with his athleticism and ability to play all three outfield positions. After the departure of Cody Bellinger, the center field spot has been one of the biggest voids on the Dodgers throughout the offseason.

What might hurt Outman’s chances at breaking camp on the Dodgers is how well other veterans are playing this spring. Jason Heyward has 12 years of big league experience, is also fighting for a roster spot, and has similarly performed great so far. David Peralta and Trayce Thompson are likely locks to make the roster alongside Mookie Betts in the outfield.

There will probably not be room for both Outman and Heyward, meaning one will have to go down to Triple-A to begin the year. Heyward is likely the favorite for now, but it is certainly possible for Outman to win the job.

Outman’s full year minor league campaign with 31 homers last year, combined with the performances he’s shown on the big stage, are establishing him as a valuable prospect. Regardless of if it comes on Opening Day, he will be in the majors this season in some capacity.

If Outman continues performing like this, a path to the Dodgers will have to open up eventually.

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