While many of us were very pleased that James Outman was protected from the Rule 5 Draft, some of us were very disappointed that Ryan Noda was left off the 40-man roster in late November. The purpose of that rostering time was to protect players from the Rule 5 Draft. When the lockout was resolved the Rule 5 Draft was canceled which meant that Noda would be in training camp with the Dodgers. When the Dodgers announced their non-roster invitees, Noda was on the list.
For the first game of the 2022 Cactus League for the Dodgers, Luke Raley was in the starting lineup as the right fielder.
First one of the spring. pic.twitter.com/B7H86o9Po7
— Tim Rogers 2080 🇺🇸 (@SDDodger) March 18, 2022
During the first inning as Clayton Kershaw was retiring the Brewers in order, Jeff Passan struck again.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays are in agreement on a trade that will send outfielder Luke Raley to Tampa Bay for Double-A reliever Tanner Dodson, who has played outfield in the past as well, sources tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 18, 2022
The replacement for Raley in the lineup was Zach McKinstry in right field. In the top of the 6th inning, Ryan Noda replaced McKinstry in right field. For the game, Noda had a couple of groundouts.
Outfield Depth Impact
Luke Raley made his major league debut in 2021 and was probably going to have some time in the big leagues in 2022. Now, he has been traded for Tanner Dodson, a former outfielder who is now a full-time pitcher. Raley fulfilled a prototype of a big left-handed power-hitting outfielder. Zach Reks, now with the Rangers, also filled that prototype. Now both Raley and Reks are gone.
Now, is a big chance for both James Outman and Ryan Noda to gain some footing with the Dodgers. Both are power-hitting outfielders and both hit left-handed. Let’s take a quick look at both players.
Outman was drafted in the 7th round of the 2018 draft by the Dodgers out of Sacramento State. He is one of the best athletes in the organization and he had some nice moments during 2021 Spring Training. In upper Single-A with the Loons, Outman slashed .250/.385/.472 (AVG/OBP/SLG) in 248 at-bats. He also slugged 9 home runs and stole 21 bases. Outman was promoted to Double-A and got 166 at-bats there. He slashed .289/.369/.518 (a nice improvement over Single-A) with 9 home runs. His defense continues to be elite as he can definitely play centerfield at the major league level, already.
James Outman, who was just named the best defensive outfielder in the AFL, made one of the more difficult plays you'll see out of a CF – getting a good jump in, diving, and catching a sinking liner in front of him pic.twitter.com/rYfmVxFaqK
— Josh Thomas (@jokeylocomotive) November 14, 2021
Noda was drafted in the 15th round of the 2017 draft by the Blue Jays. He was later sent to the Dodgers as one of the players-to-be-named-later in the Ross Stripling trade. Pitcher Kendall Williams was the other player sent over.
— MiLB Tonight (@MiLB_Tonight) December 6, 2021
The big calling card for Noda is the power. In only 384 at-bats he hit 29 home runs in Double-A. His slash line was .250/.383/.521. Like Outman, he draws plenty of walks, which the Dodgers love. Positionally, Noda fits in as a corner outfielder and has plenty of experience at first base. In the past, Noda has double figures in stolen bases but he did not steal hardly at all in 2021. From scouting reports, it seems Noda has above-average speed.
With Luke Raley no longer in the organization, there is a clearer path to the majors for players like James Outman and Ryan Noda. To be honest, I expect another move or two that will make the path even clearer. They both provide left-handed power and I would consider them the outfield prospects with the best chance to break through to the Dodgers.