Succession planning is an inevitable task of running a Major League Baseball team.
With Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger, and Chris Taylor locking down the outfield spots, the Los Angeles Dodgers didn’t have to put much emphasis on rushing prospect development or worry about what comes next.
Still, the Dodgers understand better than most the importance of building from within and staying relevant. On that basis, the team selected James Outman in the seventh round of the 2018 MLB Draft.
Eventually, Bellinger outstayed his welcome in Chavez Ravine. Moving on from the former MVP this past offseason was made easier by the prospect of promoting Outman to the big club. Here we are, three weeks into the 2023 campaign, and LA couldn’t be happier with the early returns.
Outman ranks as not only one of the best rookies but one of the best overall in the majors. Among all qualified hitters, the center fielder has the fourth-best OPS, compiling a .405 on-base percentage and a .712 slugging percentage. Predictably, ten of his 23 hits have gone for extra bases, including seven home runs, three triples, and two doubles.
More importantly, Outman has been a primary contributor to run production. The soon-to-be 26-year-old has driven 19, good enough for the top ten in the MLB, while coming around to score 14 times. Further, his metrics come from a sustainable place, implying that ongoing output should be expected.
Analytically, Outman has put himself among the best in the business. He ranks in the 91st percentile in expected slugging percentage, thanks in part to his 21.7% barrel rate and 45.7% sweet spot percentage. Those metrics will only improve with more at-bats at this level.
With stats like that, it’s unsurprising to see Outman surge up the betting board. Nevertheless, the players chasing him won’t match his effort, and this could be the last time we see Outman priced at plus money.
Top 5 NL Rookie of the Year Odds on FanDuel Sportsbook.
|James Outman||Los Angeles Dodgers||200|
|Corbin Carroll||Arizona Diamondbacks||350|
|Jordan Walker||St. Louis Cardinals||700|
|Kodai Senga||New York Mets||1000|
New York Mets