Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers’ decision to non-tender Cody Bellinger created an opportunity for James Outman to be the team’s starting center fielder during the 2023 season.
Outman earned his way into steady playing time throughout the first month of the season and set a Dodgers rookie record with seven home runs hit in March/April.
The 26-year-old was named the NL Rookie of the Month for April after batting .292/.376/.615 with four doubles, three triples, seven home runs and 20 RBI to go along with four stolen bases and 11 walks while appearing in each of the team’s 29 games (26 starts).
Outman was also named NL Rookie of the Month for August, becoming just the second player in Dodgers franchise history to earn the honor twice (Bellinger, May and June 2017).
Although he endured some growing pains at times, Outman still hit an impressive .248/.353/.437 with 16 doubles, three triples, 23 home runs and 70 RBI in 151 games. He added 16 stolen bases, which tied with Chris Taylor for second on the Dodgers.
Among qualified rookies, Outman ranked third in runs scored (86) and FanGraphs’ WAR (4.4), sixth in home runs and RBI, ninth in walk percentage (12%) and tied for 13th in wRC+ (118).
Outman finished third in National League Rookie of the Year voting behind Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder Corbin Carroll and New York Mets pitcher Kodai Senga.
Outman was among the eligible Dodgers who received pre-arbitration bonuses for finishing within the top 100 in Wins Above Replacement (WAR).
James Outman 2023 highlight
Outman enjoyed his best performance of the season on April 20, when he went 2-for-5 with two home runs and five RBI in the Dodgers’ 6-2 win over the Chicago Cubs.
Outman is under contract for the foreseeable future and will once again be the Dodgers’ starting center fielder in 2024. He could also see time in the corner outfield spots.
While Outman has already proven to be a valuable player, he will be looking to cut down on strikeouts and increase his amount of extra-base hits.
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