The Dodgers’ hottest hitter likely won’t even make the playoff roster
By Jason Reed
The Los Angeles Dodgers have been going through the motions since clinching the best record in the league and home-field advantage through the World Series. The main motive for the team in the last week or so has been fine-tuning the playoff roster and getting guys ready for the postseason gauntlet they have to go through.
It will be interesting to see what decisions Dave Roberts and Andrew Friedman make regarding the postseason roster, as there are some players that don’t deserve a roster spot that could end up taking a spot from someone who’s earned a chance.
In fact, it looks extremely unlikely that the Dodgers’ hottest hitter right now is not going to get a chance to help the team in October. We know this because the team’s hottest hitter is not even on the active roster to close out the season.
James Outman will likely be robbed of a Dodgers playoff roster spot.
James Outman somehow finished the season in Triple-A and has been one of the best hitters in the entire Dodgers organization this year. He proved that he can hang with big-league pitching in a brief MLB stint earlier this year in which he torched the baseball.
Outman’s poise at the plate and ability to hit the baseball have been on full display all season. Not only did the left-handed outfielder hit for not one, but two cycles, but he also put together one of the best seasons at the plate across all of Minor-League Baseball.
In 125 games split between Double-A and Triple-A, Outman hit .294 with a .978 OPS, 31 home runs and 106 RBI. Outman has been even better since being sent back to Triple-A after his brief MLB stint. After being demoted in August, Outman hit 10 home runs with 37 RBI and a .333 batting average in 38 games.
Outman does qualify to make the Dodgers playoff roster, as he was on the 40-man roster on August 31. The team can certainly make room for him as well, as players such as Michael Grove, Hanser Alberto and even Craig Kimbrel could be booted from the roster.
The Dodgers are obviously going to favor the big-league talent over someone who has four MLB games, but it is hard to sit there with a straight face and say that Cody Bellinger and Joey Gallo are better options at the plate right now than James Outman. Both guys have been pretty bad over the last two months.
Should Outman become a starter in October? Probably not. But to not include one of the hottest bats in the organization, at least on the bench, would be roster malpractice by Roberts and Friedman. Their job is to field the 26 best players the team has to offer, and as far as we are concerned, Outman is one of those 26.
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Time will tell if the Dodgers end up making the surprising move and include Outman on the postseason roster. I certainly would not hold my breath over it, though.