Thanks in large part to his veteran teammates in the outfield, James Outman’s rookie season has him looking the part of a player who’s been seasoned for a decade in the league already.
Though Outman’s 2023 season has had its fair share of ups and downs, multiple contributors in the clubhouse have aided his journey through his first 162 game slate, including one former Dodger who departed the team at the trade deadline in Trayce Thompson.
“I remember I was having a rough couple months earlier this year and Trayce Thompson, my locker mate at the time, was like ‘Hey’. After the game, I come and sit down and you could tell I’m frustrated. Just kinda thinking and he’s like ‘Hey, if I asked you in May, would you take being on the team’, and he listed off the stats that I had and asked ‘Would you take that?’ and I said ‘Yeah, I would’ve taken anything.’ Especially because I didn’t know that I would make the team. Earlier this year, I would’ve taken anything. So, it kind of put things into perspective and helped me look at things outside of just that day.
via James Outman, Daily Stoic
Even after being sent to the White Sox as part of the deal to bring in both Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly, Thompson’s contributions for the rest of LA’s season may have been bigger than just equal compensation in early August.
Taking Outman under his wing much like Jason Heyward, Thompson’s encouragement and inspiration as a veteran himself were all that the rookie needed to turn his season around.
One of few LA rookies to hit 20 home runs in their first full season, Outman’s second half has been a great sign for the playoffs as he’s been among the NL leaders in OBP since the All-Star Break.
Even with impressive power and on base skills, his defense in center with diving catches, home run robberies and gunning down runners have been invaluable to the team as well.
Picking up his pitchers whenever he’s manning the outfield, Outman has lived up to his last name by tracking down even the toughest of balls and using his range to send batters back to the dugout in disbelief.
All of that work and inspiration from Thompson and others has seen the rookie develop into one of the key pieces in a Dodgers lineup hungry for playoff redemption and a possible World Series title in 2023.
Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Have you subscribed to our Youtube Channel yet? Subscribe and hit that notification bell to stay up to date on all the latest Dodgers news, rumors, interviews, live streams, and more!