Los Angeles Dodgers Player Report: Expectations exceeded, missed, and met
By Kyle Collis
The Dodgers aren’t exactly where they want to be to start the 2023 MLB season. They're currently flirting with .500, lingering around the Diamondbacks and Padres in the NL West. By many standards, this isn’t a bad start to the year; it’s just not quite up to the high hopes that come with being the Los Angeles Dodgers. Some players have really helped the Dodgers get to the position they are in, while others are experiencing some early-season woes and may be holding the team back for the time being. Others are producing just as the team and fans had hoped.
Starting with those who are exceeding expectations, it’s impossible not to mention rookie outfielder, James Outman. Outman is doing it all at the plate, as he currently leads all Dodgers hitters with an OPS of 1.096. He also has the team's only two stolen bases, making him slightly more threatening when he does reach base. Fans were hopeful that Outman would have a breakout season, as it seemed every time he had gotten a chance in the past, he left them wanting more. He is continuing to show that his success can be sustainable.
On the pitching side of things, Dustin May has been stellar through three starts. In 18.1 innings pitched, May has allowed just 7 hits and 3 earned runs. The only (small) concern for the 25 year-old is walks. He leads the team in walks, where he has given up 7. Even with that, May has a WHIP of 0.76, which leads qualified Dodgers pitchers. Similar to Outman, there has always been potential, but injuries kept halting what could be. So far, May is showing what those injuries have robbed Dodgers fans of, as he has been dominant to start the 2023 season.
On a more somber note, there is a player who has fans waiting for them to get back on track, and it's utility man Chris Taylor. Taylor has never been a player that is heavily feared when he steps up to the plate, as a lot of his value comes from his defensive versatility. But with a career batting average of .254, he’s also been quite serviceable, in terms of hitting production. This season has been a different story. Taylor has just four hits in 11 games (three homers, though, somehow), leaving him with a batting average of .114 and an OBP of .179. It was only two seasons ago when Taylor was named an All-Star in 2021. Dodgers fans are hopeful that he can spark up some magic as the season rolls on.
Finally, two players who are meeting expectations are Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman. Yes, these two are obviously really good, but to meet expectations, you must be playing at that level. Betts carries a .391 OBP and .853 OPS, while Freeman's corresponding numbers are .406 and .842. Both have simultaneously been good out in the field as well. As the Dodgers try to get this season back to their standards, they need their stars to stay consistent and produce. Betts and Freeman are doing just that, and continue to play at All-Star-caliber levels, as expected.