Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The 2023 season has been somewhat of an extreme rollercoaster for James Outman, with high peaks and low valleys, but the Los Angeles Dodgers continued to have faith in their rookie and are being rewarded for it.
Outman began the year as one of the Dodgers’ best hitters, slashing .289/.366/.600 in April with six home runs and 18 RBI. He earned National League Rookie of the Month honors for the blistering start to the season.
But in May and June, Outman was among the worst hitters in baseball. He batted .165/.261/.291 in May before slightly picking up his production to a still poor .224/.297/.254 line in June.
Outman has returned to form since the start of July, posting a stretch that is nearly six weeks long of elite-level production.
“I think just relaxing at the plate,” Outman explained of the uptick. “Kind of going back to my plan and sticking to it. It helps when we’re winning.”
In July, Outman hit .309/.434/.471 with three hot runs and 14 RBI. The 26-year-old built on that success and has been even better in August, batting .344/.512/.594 with two home runs and seven RBI with more than half the month remaining.
“I felt more locked in during April, to be honest,” Outman said. “I just think I’m putting together better at-bats. It feels good, for sure. It feels good to come out of a hole.”
Along with being more relaxed at the plate, Outman is also making better and quicker adjustments “Yeah, definitely,” he said. “It’s a game of adjustments, and there’s always a little bit of give and take.”
Outman is proving he belongs on a talented Dodgers roster and has produced an overall line of .257/.362/.439 with 14 home runs, 15 RBI and 14 stolen bases.
James Outman playing elite defense in center field
Outman has not just been a positive at the plate, he’s also making good on his last name by playing elite defense in the outfield as he ranks in the 91st percentile of outs above average.
Although Outman’s jumps have been poor, ranking in the bottom fourth of outfielders, he has made up for it thanks to his 90th-percentile sprint speed. He has also spent time working with Dodgers first base coach Clayton McCullough to improve on his defensive abilities.
“Very pleased,” Outman said of his defensive improvements. “I also think it’s kind of like a relaxation thing out there too. Just trusting my reads.”
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