Dave Roberts Envisions James Outman Being Dodgers’ Everyday Center Fielder

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

James Outman enjoyed an impressive rookie season as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ primary center fielder and is poised to build on that success in his second full year at the Major League level.

Outman hit .248/.353/.437 with 16 doubles, three triples, 23 home runs, 70 RBI and 16 stolen bases in 151 games en route to a third-place finish in National League Rookie of the Year voting.

Outman crushed right-handed pitching to the tune of a .247/.351/.484 batting line in 413 plate appearances, but was not as productive against opposing southpaws as he hit just .254/.357/.308 over 154 opportunities.

Despite his splits and having outfield depth on the roster, manager Dave Roberts anticipates Outman being the Dodgers’ everyday center fielder this year, via Juan Toribio of MLB.com:

“I want him out there,” Roberts said of Outman. “He’s shown he can take good at-bats against left-handed pitching, so it’s definitely not a platoon situation.”

If Outman falters against left-handed pitching, that figures to lend to more opportunities for Kiké Hernández or Chris Taylor. Hernández and Taylor otherwise are likely to make some starts in the corner outfield positions and infield as well, given their versatility.

Hernández said one key reason behind re-signing with the Dodgers was their plan to have him in the lineup when they face southpaws.

Thus far in the regular season the Dodgers faced right-handed starters in the Seoul Series. They’re now playing the exhibition Freeway Series before resuming their 2024 schedule with the Dodger Stadium opener on March 28.

James Outman ranked by The Shredder for 2024

Outman placed sixth on the list of MLB Top-10 Center Fielders Right Now for the 2024 season, his first time appearing in the annual rankings.

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