Three Hornet alumni crack Opening Day MLB rosters

Keep an eye for these Hornets next time you watch a baseball game


Jack Freeman

Rhys Hoskins swings at a pitch in his Sacramento State uniform and stands on the right in his Philadelphia Phillies attire. Hoskins is just one of four former Sac State players to find themselves on a MLB 40-man roster this season. (Photo: State Hornet and Ian D’Andrea [Flikr], Graphic made in Canva by Jack Freeman)

Hugo Quintanilla

Three Sacramento State Baseball alumni have started their season with their Major League Baseball franchises. 

Over the last 13 seasons, head coach Reggie Christiansen has made Sac State baseball a powerhouse, coaching three players who started on Opening Day. He ranks fifth in California Division One wins since 2012, with 320 wins.

Here’s who made it to the major league, including their history at Sac State and accomplishments in the MLB:

James Outman, Los Angeles Dodgers

Outfielder James Outman was selected to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2018 with the last pick in the seventh round and 224th overall.

Outman made his debut with the Dodgers in 2022 versus the Colorado Rockies  

Outman spent three years with Sac State Baseball. from 2016-2018.  

In the 2023 season as a Dodger, Outman has picked up right where he left off in his first Opening Day, hitting a home run during his first at-bat of the night versus the Arizona Diamondbacks March 30.  

“Outman has been the one that’s pretty cool since I’m a Dodgers fan,” Christiansen said. “I usually watch all their games; now it’s a little more fun.”  

Rhys Hoskins, Philadelphia Phillies

After spending 2012 to 2014 with the Hornets, first baseman Rhys Hoskins was a 2014 fifth-round draft pick for the Philadelphia Phillies, making his first appearance on the field three years later.

He played in 156 games during the 2022 season, a career-high. 

Hoskins hasn’t been seen on the field so far this season, as he underwent surgery for a torn ACL, an injury that occurred during Spring Training after helping take the Phillies to the World Series in fall 2022.

Nathan Lukes, Toronto Blue Jays

Nathan Lukes, Toronto Blue Jays outfielder, played with the Hornets from 2013 to 2015 before being drafted by the Cleveland Guardians in the 7th round of the 2015 MLB June Amateur Draft.   

Lukes will get his first chance in the big leagues as a reserve outfielder after swiping 20 bags last year in Triple-A Buffalo.

Lukes played 111 games with the Bisons during the 2022 season. He hit .285 and completed 11 home runs with 61 RBIs. 

Christiansen recalls memory of former Hornets

Now in the minor leagues, former San Francisco Giants pitching prospect Sam Long once played on the same Hornet team with Outman, where he briefly served as a two-way player, pitching and playing as an outfielder.

Christiansen said he benched Outman for Long while on a road game at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on April 23, 2016. 

The game was going into extra innings and Christiansen said he decided to put Long in right field instead of Outman. 

Christiansen said he also didn’t hit Outman when it was his time to bat, putting in Long instead.

After that hit, Long ended up scoring the winning run of the game.

“James [Outman] was pissed after the game that he didn’t, number one, play the outfield and (also) didn’t get to hit,” Christiansen said. 

But Christiansen’s move helped the Hornets win, and now all four of the Hornets are winning, living out their major league dreams.