The Dodgers have gotten off to a topsy-turvy 7-6 start to the season. While the bullpen has recently shown many weaknesses, many Dodgers hitters (and some starting pitchers as well) have gotten off to hot starts to the season. Many Dodgers had deceivingly positive starts to the season, but have since cooled off, while many others have remained red hot. The Dodgers have the second-highest team OPS in MLB, trailing only the Tampa Bay Rays (who are really just in a league of their own to start the season).
While such a small sample size might not lead to accurate stats and projections, matching stats with advanced data allows us to discern whether these starts are just flukes, or if these players are really doing something special.
It's time to examine some of those Dodgers who have gotten off to great starts to the season and decide whether the advanced metrics match with their actual production, indicating their hot streaks are potentially sustainable.
4 Dodgers Who Will Sustain Their Hot Starts (And One Who Won't)
Will he maintain his start? Yes.
James Outman has impressed early on in his rookie season. But if you thought his 1.122 OPS, which ranks first among qualified NL rookies and seventh in all of MLB among qualified hitters (as of this writing) was an indicator of how great he has been to start the season, think again. Sure, the triples and home runs are nice, but Outman's advanced metrics might be even more impressive than just watching him play.
Before talking about strengths, Outman does have two major weaknesses: his strikeout rate (29.2%, 20th percentile), and his whiff rate (43.2%, 1st percentile). However, across the board, in virtually every other stat, he is on fire.
Outman is in the 91st percentile or higher in seven different metrics: xwOBA, xBA, xSLG, Barrel %, BB%, sprint speed and outs above average. For those who are unfamiliar with advanced metrics, a stat with an "x" in front of it simply correlates to the expected value in that category, calculated by averaging the results of similarly-hit balls across various factors. What these stats tell us is that Outman's start to the year is not a fluke. His quality of contact, along with his great speed, has led to an amazing start to the year, and it actually looks sustainable. While Outman may not end the season with an OPS in the top ten of MLB, he has placed himself squarely in the upper echelon of MLB rookies this season.