In a season filled with highs and lows, James Outman’s rookie year with the Los Angeles Dodgers has taken a remarkable turn, thanks to the guidance of veteran teammates. Among them, Trayce Thompson, a former Dodger who departed the team during the trade deadline, played a pivotal role in Outman’s impressive transformation during the 2023 season.
Traded to the Chicago White Sox as part of a deal to acquire Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly, Trayce Thompson’s contributions continued to resonate throughout the Dodgers’ season. He took James Outman under his wing, just as Jason Heyward had done, providing the rookie with encouragement and inspiration that ultimately turned his season around.
While 2023 witnessed its fair share of ups and downs for Outman, he emerged as one of the few LA rookies to hit 20 home runs in their inaugural full season. His resurgence in the second half of the season has been a promising sign for the playoffs, as he consistently ranked among the National League leaders in On-Base Percentage (OBP) since the All-Star Break.
Beyond his impressive offensive stats, Outman’s defensive prowess in center field has proven invaluable to the team. His spectacular diving catches, home run robberies, and precision in gunning down runners have left spectators in awe. Outman’s dedication to supporting his pitchers while patrolling the outfield reflects his commitment to the team’s success.
“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.
James Outman’s journey, fueled by the mentorship and support of Trayce Thompson and other veteran teammates, has elevated him to a pivotal role in the Dodgers’ lineup. As the Dodgers set their sights on playoff redemption and a potential World Series title in 2023, Outman stands as a testament to the transformative power of mentorship and perseverance.
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