Dodgers Prospect Watch: James Outman Still Shining at Triple-A Oklahoma City

As fast as the James Outman craze captured the hearts of Dodgers fans in early August, it quickly drifted into the sunset once some of the club’s more experienced players began getting healthy.

While you could probably say that Chris Taylor’s return had a direct impact on Outman’s demotion, the acquisition of the lefty-hitting Joey Gallo almost ensured that Outman probably won’t be recalled for the remainder of 2022.

Even though it seems so long ago, it’s still hard to forget the 25-year-old, lefty-hitting Outman’s MLB debut against the Rockies, as he was just a triple shy of the cycle. His 3-for-4, three-RBI effort immediately proved to his naysayers that he had the skills to compete in the majors.

By the time the team activated Taylor on August 5, Outman had appeared in four games, going 6-for-13 with two doubles and a homer and showing he can handle defensive duties in both left and right field.

While there’s probably not much else he could have done to plead his big-league case, he continues to handle Triple-A pitching very well.

On Friday night against El Paso, Outman finally got his cycle, going 5-for-5 in what was certainly the most memorable offensive performance of his career. With the game tied 4-4 and two runners on base in the bottom of the ninth, Outman launched a walkoff bomb into the right field bleachers that caused pandemonium in the local Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark crowd.

During his time in the minors this year, Outman has slashed a combined .287/.387/.569 with 25 doubles, 23 homers and 84 RBI in 30 games with OKC and 68 with Double-A Tulsa.

OKC’s victory on Saturday night over the Chihuahuas featured blue chip infielder Michael Busch leading off and Outman hitting out of the two-hole, creating perhaps one of the best one-two punches in the Pacific Coast League.

If Gallo continues to produce and all the other primary outfielders stay healthy, there’s virtually no chance fans see Outman again in the majors this year.

However, Joey Gallo is a free agent at the end of the season, opening one possible door for Outman heading into next year. Outside of that, the Dodgers have limitless options on how they want to build their outfield moving forward.

Mookie Betts is around for a long time, and Taylor’s contract covers at least another three years. Cody Bellinger will be back for his final arbitration year in 2023, giving the team one final look before deciding if they want to commit to the former MVP long term.

Based on the way Thompson has performed, the team could offer him a deal on the cheap, especially if he continues to contribute throughout the postseason.

Still, with the lack of lefty hitters — assuming Gallo doesn’t return — there’s a good a chance as any Outman makes a run at an Opening Day roster spot in 2023.

20 thoughts on “Dodgers Prospect Watch: James Outman Still Shining at Triple-A Oklahoma City

  1. I agree that it would make good sense to have Outman take Gallo’s spot on the roster next year. The only question will be whether Vargas and Busch will get in his way, roster-wise.

    Either of those guys can play the outfield, although not nearly as well as Outman. Where would three spots on the 26-man come from to accommodate all three?

    JT not returning would be one – I expect him back.
    Trayce not returning would be one – if he keeps up his current production, I expect him back.
    Trea not returning would be one – I want him back.
    Alberto not returning would be one – he can be used all over the infield and as a late inning defensive replacement, something that none of the other three can do.
    Bellinger could be non-tendered or traded – I don’t expect that to happen, but I wouldn’t be totally heart-broken if it did.

    Of the three, I think Busch is the most likely to be traded and Vargas the least likely.
    AF will have some tough decisions to make this winter, but I would be surprised to see Vargas, Busch and Outman all on the opening day roster.


    1. Makes a lot of sense. With Outman in the regular outfield picture, it gives CT more chances to provide infield coverage, perhaps making Alberto obsolete. Except for his motivation and cheerleading skills, of course.


      1. Because of his defensive and cheerleading abilities, I think Hanser is probably under-appreciated, but there simply may not be enough room for him next year. I guess part of that will be determined by how ready Dodger brass feels Vargas, Busch and Outman are.


      2. I’d like to keep Gallo if possible. Gallo/Thompson is a slugfest. I know he might could get paid elsewhere, but for a guy with a career .800 OPS he hasn’t been paid all that much. He’s 29 next year and probably can continue to OPS .900 with us. Let’s see how he finishes.


      3. To my way of thinking, there isn’t room on the roster for Gallo, Outman and Bellinger. I expect that AF will have Belli play out his last season here but if he decides otherwise, I’ll be OK with that decision.

        Gallo certainly has more MLB success on his resume than does Outman, but strictly based on emotion (which is a lousy way to make a decision), I’d rather see Outman here next year than Gallo.


      4. Well, you know I like Outman. But, if Gallo finds his stroke here and wants to remain a Dodger, I think I let that happen. Let’s see how he finishes.


    2. I think they will pick up the option on JT but I would not. I hope they sign Thompson and bring up Vargas. Sure they let Rios compete for a slot too although he has proved to be very injury prone, as some guys just are. I think they should trade Busch as there isn’t room. Trea Turner may go East Coast if so there is a slot. Gallo is a more powerful Muncy that plays the outfield but is a better defender in his position. Alberto has been a great clubhouse guy but if the Dodgers have regular outfielders Taylor plays more infield.


      1. I just read Outman hit for the cycle again. He’s making a statement. At this time I like Gallo in our lineup. If he makes contact the rest of the way he adds length to our lineup. But next year? If Gallo leaves Outman is first up for that spot. If Gallo stays Outman can be moved (for pitching if it were up to me)


  2. There are a lot of options, and it is fun to speculate, but I prefer to wait until they finish business this season before I start worrying about 2023. I still think Taylor needs to cut down his strikeouts…..a lot. He has struck out 128 times in 313 at bats. Unacceptable. Bellinger has 121 K’s in 411. Still way too much. Muncy has 109 in 355. But at least he draws some walks.


    1. The good news, you hit into fewer double plays if you strike out a lot.

      He had 5 years of OPSn .775 or better so I’m willing to give one off year. Kinda have to considering he’s signed through ’26.


      1. CT3 is one of the streakiest hitters on the roster. The problem is that this bad streak has lasted most of the year. I’m not overly worried about him since we’re 50 games over .500 without his normal contribution. He could fix himself at a moment’s notice and become WS MVP.

        As a matter of fact, you heard it first here. I predict Chris Taylor will become 2022 World Series MVP. And that prediction stands even if we don’t get to the World Series…………………because I’m a man of my word.


      2. Stands for what? Man of your word? What was the word again?

        I stick with Taylor too. I stick with Bellinger, like I stuck with Muncy. I’m willing to stick with Gallo like I stuck with Muncy and Bellinger. Speaking of stucking, I wish Roberts hadn’t stuck with Gonsolin like he stuck with Scherzer.


  3. Well looks like Gonsulin is headed for TJ surgery as well. Forearm strain is usually the early diagnosis before realizing TJ is needed. I was worried about him blowing by his previous innings limit. Dodgers just can’t catch a break with keeping it’s pitchers healthy this year. I hope I’m wrong but I’m betting I’m not.


    1. Forearm strain doesn’t automatically lead to TJ but it’s never good news.
      “Team sources” say they think they caught it early and hope to have him back this year.
      On the other hand, the Dodgers always seem to underestimate the seriousness of injuries.
      I guess we just have to wait and see, but the starting staff is definitely weaker now than it was yesterday.


      1. Boy I hope tou are wrong and I was right. I always wondered why pitchers are bigger and stronger, pitch 30 /40 percent less and suffer from so much TJ, an unheard of injury when they pitched 40 games and 300 innings


      2. Pitchers are also throwing much harder than ever before. How did old school pitchers go every 4th day for 300 innings? They weren’t throwing 98-100 mph. They threw low to mid 90s, changed speeds and hit their spots. The torque on these young arms is enormous and clearly dangerous.

        We read a while back that split finger pitches were harder on elbow ligaments than other pitches. Everyone knew it and Gonsolin, who has had trouble with injury before, continued to be used right past his previous high innings mark. I’m still hoping all he needs is rest but will I be surprised if it’s more serious than being reported? Of course not. And I won’t be surprised if Urias is next. There’s a pattern here and it’s my opinion it’s time people paid attention.


  4. Tearing the UC ligament wasn’t an unheard of injury. It just ended your career because there was no was to fix it then so players just had to retire.


    1. You know how freakish they are about matchups. My guess is they prefer Vargas’s righty bat, even though Outman could probably out mash him either way from the left side. At least right now, anyway. Maybe Vargas will heat up.


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