Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
James Outman entered the 2021 season as a mostly unheralded outfield prospect for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but a breakout year has pushed him into the organization’s future plans.
Outman hit .250/.385/.472 with nine home runs and a 136 wRC+ in 65 games for the High-A Great Lakes Loons before earning a promotion to Double-A Tulsa, where he batted .289/.369/.518 with nine home runs and a 136 wRC+ over 39 games.
Because of the strong season, the Dodgers added Outman to their 40-man roster this offseason to protect him in the Rule 5 Draft, and he could make his MLB debut during the 2022 season.
After the season, Outman participated in the Arizona Fall League where he continued his success, which he credited to carrying the momentum over that he was able to build early in the year, via “Dodger Talk” with David Vassegh:
“I had high expectations for myself coming into the 2021 season. Part of that was due to missing the 2020 season with the Minor Leagues. I was really trying to hit the ground running, so once I started to gain a little bit of momentum, I didn’t want to lose it. I just tried to step on the gas and stay on it. I think a lot of it was having that full season under my belt, knowing what to expect. And then the other half was COVID. I missed that year, so I felt like I really needed to make up for lost time. I think I was just able to carry that momentum out a little bit.”
In the AFL, Outman hit .284/.422/.552 with three home runs and 19 hits in 21 games and his .974 on-base plus slugging percentage was ranked 13th in the league against some of best prospects in baseball.
Outman said playing against strong competition led to holding himself to a higher standard than he would normally:
“It was good competition out there. Facing some really good arms, my teammates, really good players out there. I think just being around all those high-caliber players, I was holding myself to a much higher standard than maybe I would’ve been holding myself to before.”
With his continued success in the AFL, Outman was named to represent the Dodgers, along with Bobby Miller, at the 2021 Fall Stars Game.
He started in center field and went 0-for-2 with a pair of strikeouts. However, Outman did make a diving catch in center field while Miller was on the mound.
Bobby Miller among Dodgers prospects who could debut in 2022
L.A. will surely look to add to their rotation once the lockout ends, but Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman thinks the organization has several prospects who might get an opportunity to log important innings in 2022.
“We’ve got some really good guys in place,” Friedman recently noted.
“That being said, we’re going to need to address that. We’ve got a really good group of young starting pitchers coming. With Mitch White, Andre Jackson, we saw some of this year. Bobby Miller, Ryan Pepiot, Landon Knack will all be in the upper levels or Major League when we start the year.
“It really gives us a strong foundation and depth, so now rounding the rotation will definitely be something we’re focused on as we get into the winter.”
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