You are freaking Out… Man
James Outman (LAD): 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI.
Hey look, the Dodgers developed another excellent player that many going into the year didn’t know. How fun, how fun for them. James Outman has taken 2023 by storm and has looked like a massive piece for the Dodgers’ future slashing .290/.427/.680 with 5 home runs and 2 stolen bases. Thursday he hit 2 home runs including a go-ahead grand slam.
Outman is a 7th-round pick out of CSU Sacramento who had power in college but was actually known more for his speed. He took a bit of time in the minors to get things going, in baseball prospect years he is basically pushing retirement at the ghastly age of 25. 2022 was when it all clicked for him splitting time between AA and AAA slashing a ridiculous .294/.393/.586 and hitting 31 home runs while stealing 13 bases.
The Dodgers look like they have another good one in Outman, which is to be expected for a franchise that develops so well. The go-ahead home run in the 9th pushed Los Angeles to a victory on Thursday and it further solidified Outman’s ability at the plate. He is one of baseball’s more exciting young players who will get playing time throughout the year. Pre-season he felt like a dark horse for NL Rookie of the Year, and now, I don’t think he’s a dark horse anymore.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Thursday
Pete Alonso (NYM): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB.
The Polar Bear grabbed the league lead for home runs tonight in a win over the San Francisco Giants Thursday. 4 RBIs with a 2 run home run and a 2-run single is a nice day at the office for the big first basemen. What else is there to say about Alonso? He is one of the premier players in the game and is always a threat to take the home run crown. I think the only what-if question for Alonso is if the New York Mets sign him long-term. I would guess yes.
Jeff McNeil (NYM): 3-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.
Another Met and why not? The Flying Squirrel (no relation to the Giants AA team), hit his first home run of the year Thursday, as well as driving in 2 and scoring 2 runs. As we watch this nice era for the Mets, it feels like McNeil is the maniac heartbeat of the successful team. He’s a joy to watch play all over the diamond and brings an old-school approach at the plate. He hasn’t been quite himself to start the year, but he doesn’t have too much worry in his profile. The Mets are dealing with injuries early, Alonso and McNeil have to perform if they want to make a deep postseason run.
Willi Castro (MIN): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Basically as well-known as Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil, Willi Castro cracked a home run and a double Thursday good for 2 RBIS and 2 runs. Castro, an OOTP legend, played much of his career with the Tigers before signing with the Twins as a free agent to start 2023. There is a chance this is the only time he makes this list, but it is always great to see new names here. The Twins look the part of a division champ this year, pieces like Castro don’t jump off the page, but he could prove to be a nice addition.
C.J. Cron (COL): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
The Rockies finally won a game, snapping an 8 game skid in Philadelphia tonight. Cron was a major part of the win doing what he does best, hitting ding dongs. He hit a first-inning 2-run home run Thursday and the Rockies never looked back. The Rockies might be the worst team in baseball. Yes, worse than the A’s. Keep an eye on Cron during the trade deadline since the Rockies are playing for nothing. Although, the Rockies love to not trade players at the deadline and then let them walk for nothing in the offseason (Jon Gray I’m happy you got out), so maybe we see him stay in purple through the year.
Xander Bogaerts (SD): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Boy was I wrong about Xander Bogaerts in San Diego. I didn’t think he would be bad by any means, but I did think that we would maybe see some slight offensive decline. That has not happened with Bogaerts continuing to rake hitting a home run Thursday along with 2 runs and 2 RBIs. With Fernando Tatis Jr. back, and Xander locked in for years to come, the Padres lineup is looking scary from top to bottom. And speaking of the bottom of the Padres lineup.
Trent Grisham (SD): 2-3, 2 2B, 4 RBI, BB.
I want Trent Grisham to be good so badly. I have to root for hitters who do not wear batting gloves, have to. Also, the mustache puts Leonid Brezhnev’s eyebrows to shame. Thursday, Grisham was a major part of the Padres’ victory over the Dbacks hitting 2 doubles and driving in 4. It felt like last year around this time we were expecting Grisham to fully break out into star territory. He is still only 26 so there is time.
Anthony Rizzo (NYY): 3-3, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB.
This a very Anthony Rizzo line. 3 singles, 2 walks, 2 runs, and an RBI, heavy Rizzo vibes. If McNeil is the manic heartbeat of the Mets, Rizzo is the calm cool collected pulse of the Yankees that they need for a full season. It cannot be understated how important he is to the Yankees, and if he stays healthy, he will be a major part of several wins.
Alex Verdugo (BOS): 2-4, HR, 2 R, RBI.
It’s great to see Alex Verdugo do well in Boston. Being the centerpiece of the Mookie Betts trade had to be difficult. This year and last, Verdugo has really started to find his stride. Thursday Verdugo was part of the onslaught the Red Sox put on the Twins, hitting a solo home run and scoring 2 runs. The offense was really spread out for the Red Sox Thursday with Masataka Yoshida and Kike Hernandez also having stellar games. I’d love to see more power from Verdugo in general, maybe 2023 is the year?
Jonathan India (CIN): 3-4, 2B, R, RBI, SB.
I think it’s safe to say Jonathan India is healthy, which is a great thing for baseball. Thursday he reached base 3 times, as well as getting a stolen base. The Reds are sort of in-between good teams this year. The top of their rotation is taking shape but they still have some question marks in the lineup. One spot that isn’t a question mark is wherever they decide to put India. He’s showing 2021 was no fluke, and it’ll be exciting to see how good he can get in 2023.
Logan O’Hoppe (LAA): 3-4, 2B, 2 RBI.
Three hits including a double for the young catcher Logan O’Hoppe, you love to see it. O’Hoppe was traded to the Angels for Brandon Marsh straight up last year and so far that trade is looking like a win for both sides. Unfortunately, O’Hoppe hurt his shoulder in Thursday’s game, we still don’t know how serious it is. But this is one of the more exciting bats in the majors to watch in 2023.
Well done. Thank you. Entertaining.