Dodgers Team News

Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Can’t Believe How Quickly James Outman Improved on Defense

James Outman has had a great year for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The rookie centerfielder finds himself firmly in the NL Rookie of the Year conversation and has been a reliable bat for LA in their march to the postseason. But it’s another area of the game where he’s made the most surprising mark.

His defense.

The 26-year-old received help in the outfield earlier this season, and it’s worked out for him as he’s improved his consistency there along with his range.

And speaking of range, it’s led to Outman making catches like this.

And beyond robbing Spencer Torkelson of probably a bases-clearing double, his meteoric rise in center has caught the eye of Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who himself played centerfield during his 10-year MLB career.

“Honestly I didn’t think it could happen this fast,” Roberts said of Outman’s strides defensively. “He’s a plus-center fielder right now and has been for quite some time in the second half. You’ve got to get a good jump on the ball, get a perfect line to the baseball and then finish the play. He’s done that time and time again for us.”

via Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register

Considering that Outman was arguably an average to below average center fielder just a few months ago, the fact that he’s this reliable this quickly is a credit to both him and the Dodgers coaching staff.

LA does have some questions on the roster with the playoffs roughly two short weeks away, but one thing that they can count on is a steady handed Outman manning the outfield, an answer to a question that not many thought he’d be able to provide a solution to.

Photo Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

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Matt Wagner

Matt Wagner was born and raised in southern California, and he lived there before moving to Colorado and getting his B.A. in Communications from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 2022. He relocated back to southern California in 2023 and is looking forward to covering the Dodgers again here at Dodgers Nation. Some of his past work is in Bleacher Report, Dodgers Tailgate, and, most recently, Colorado Buffaloes Wire. Aside from writing, you can probably catch him petting the nearest dog or eating some good Mexican food.

One Comment

  1. Only 6 CF rate above him in outs above average statcast stat on Baseball Savant. He rates above Bellinger this year, 8
    If the Dodgers signed Bellinger as a free agent this winter [which they won’t] which of the two would play CF, which would move to LF?

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