Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
After the Los Angeles Dodgers non-tendered Cody Bellinger in the offseason, they turned to a rookie in James Outman to take over as their primary center fielder.
It turned out to be an up-and-down season for Outman, who had multiple hot streaks and multiple cold stretches, but overall it was an incredibly strong debut year.
Outman played in 151 games, hitting .248/.353/.437 with 23 home runs, 86 runs scored, 70 RBI, 16 stolen bases, a 118 wRC+ and 4.4 WAR.
In many years, he would’ve been a favorite to win Rookie of the Year, but the Arizona Diamondbacks had the runaway favorite in Corbin Carroll, who should also finish near the top of National League MVP voting.
After the Dodgers were eliminated in the NL Division Series, Outman thanked Dodgers fans on Instagram and shared his disappointment for how the season ended.
In his message, Outman also acknowledged the people he met and the relationships he made during the season and how he is looking forward to next year after putting in more work in the offseason.
During the season, the 26-year-old spent a lot of time working with Dodgers hitting coaches Robert Van Scoyoc and Aaron Bates to try to find more consistency at the plate.
He finished the season taking home two Rookie of the Month honors. His first time winning the award came in April, and he also won it again in August.
Outman is one of nine Dodgers rookies to ever win the award, joining Kazuhisa Ishii (April 2002), James Loney (September 2007), Blake DeWitt (May 2008), Dee Strange-Gordon (September 2011), Yasiel Puig (June 2013), Alex Guerrero (April 2015), Corey Seager (June 2016) and Bellinger (May and June 2017).
Unfortuantey, he dealt with struggles in the playoffs, like many of the hitters, and ended up being benched in the final game of the series in favor of Kiké Hernández.
James Outman 2024 outlook
Outman should once again enter the season as a starting outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He will presumably play center field, but he also has the ability to play either of the two corner spots if needed.
The next step in his offensive game is to cut down on the strikeouts or increase his amount of extra-base hits. But even if Outman doesn’t take another step forward, he’s still proven to be a valuable player regardless.
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