Dodgers Prospect Watch: A Closer Look at James Outman

If you’re a minor league baseball fan, one of the coolest things about spring training is seeing some of the most promising young prospects taking hacks against big-league pitching. What’s even more interesting is when some of these players are freshly anointed to the 40-man roster, knowing that their respective regular-season debuts could be coming soon.

One of those players for the Dodgers is 24-year-old outfielder James Outman. The lefty-hitting, righty-throwing native of Redwood City was named to the team’s 40-man roster last winter to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. But what’s intriguing is that he might legitimately have a shot at some MLB playing time this year, especially when considering the thinness of the Los Angeles outfield.

The first thing that came to mind when I took a close look at Outman was a DJ Peters type of player from the opposite side of the plate. Like Peters, Outman is gifted athletically, both in terms of power, speed and quickness. At 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, he’s a tad smaller than Peters, but their minor league numbers are similar, including a high number of strikeouts.

Between two levels last year, Outman hit .266/.379/.490 with 21 doubles, nine triples, 18 long balls and an impressive 23 stolen bases; but he struck out 139 times in 491 plate appearances. He has a decent arm and can handle all three outfield spots, just like Peters. Many believe he profiles best in center field.

Scouts feel that Outman has more upside than Peters because of his ability to get on base. He drew 65 walks and was hit by a pitch 13 times last season, leading to his respectable .379 OBP. He’s smart and had a good head, which might help when it comes to making more contact at the plate.

Outman is currently rated as the 18th best prospect in the Dodgers system, according to MLB Pipeline.

It should be interesting to see how the 7th round 2018 draft pick handles Triple-A pitching after a decent showing in the pitcher-friendly Double-A Texas League last season.

One might guess that Outman could be higher up on the pecking order as far as fringe players go, but let’s not forget about guys like Zach McKinstry and Ryan Noda who are technically listed as infielders. Plus, you have players like Kevin Pillar and Jake Lamb who could jump onto the big-league scene like the way Steven Souza Jr. did last year. Similarly, guys like Omar Estevez and Eddys Leonard, who are also freshly anointed to the 40-man, have been floating out into the outfield for a few quick looks recently.

In the majors, it’s primarily a four-player rotation with Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger, AJ Pollock and Chris Taylor, but it will be interesting to see what happens in the case of an injury. Gavin Lux had some action in the outfield last season, and if he can maintain any type of consistency on offense, may try to wiggle into the lineup in any way possible. Edwin Rios can also play a little left field, but still hasn’t earned a ton of trust out there.

The Dodgers had a monstrous 15 guys play in the outfield last season, including lesser-known names like Zach Reks, Billy McKinney, Luke Raley, Yoshi Tsutsugo and more. If we see that much fluidity in the roster this year, there’s a good chance Outman might get a few looks.

28 thoughts on “Dodgers Prospect Watch: A Closer Look at James Outman

  1. Forget strikeout numbers. That’s old thinking. Today they look at OPS. His was .869 last year. He does it again it will demand a look in MLB. It’s my opinion Outman is on the doorstep of figuring it out. Pages and Ramos may be higher rated, but they are not closer to The Show.

  2. “had a good head, which might help when it comes to making more contact at the plate.”
    Will probably also come in handy when getting hit by pitches, which he seems to do fairly often.

  3. While aware the new thinking is strikeouts don’t matter I think ya gotta hit the bloody ball! As you are talking about outfielders and I am aware its very early but the hitters are batting against a lot of scrubs and minor league fringe talent so not a lot of excuse to be horrible out there. So while not attempting to aggravate the Bear I am concerned watching Bellinger lunge and swing and miss this Spring! He looks like early 2021 redux! Not sure what the excuse for him will be this season. I had hoped he had figured it out end of last year hopefully he has and this is just a horrible blip. But dang he looks bad and yes I have watched every Dodger Spring game. Very impressed with Fulmer, Gonzalez, and Pepiot when he is throwing strikes LOL, Grove had a nice inning. Rios is tearing it up and Vargas showed promise. Lamb has looked good but I doubt there is room for him or McKinstry.

    1. Well I’m with you on making contact Tmax, I’m just acknowledging what it is that management values now and it’s on base plus slugging. Keep it over .800 at all levels and you will get your shot.

      Bellinger is striking out against those same scrubs and minor league fringe talent. Looks to me like he’s making similar mistakes he was making last year. His head moves way too much. I think he should widen his stance and just turn on the ball. His swing is so violent if he makes contact it’s gonna leave with some serious velocity.

      Vesia is getting hit.

  4. Bellinger with 4 Ks. He’s struck out something like 14 of 18 at bats. He’s swinging at curves in the dirt. It looks to me like he’s not recognizing spin.

  5. If the season started tomorrow and Bellinger is in CF, I have him batting 9th. Come on big fella, figure it out. You don’t need to try and hit it 600 feet every swing.

  6. We all love Belly, and want to see him succeed, but man is it painful to watch him flail away. It feels like he walks up to the plate down 0-2. I wish he would go back to what he was doing in the playoffs, it looked like he was getting close to figuring it out. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an ML batter that looked so lost at the plate.

    1. Come on you guys. Be fair. He was I injured a couple of years ago and the lingering affects have been coordination, his inability to see the ball and of course not understanding he has a problem. He’ll recover from this dehabilitng injury.

  7. It is spring training. If Bellinger is still doing this a month into the season, then I will worry.

    1. If he’s still doing this next week it’s time to worry. He’s not seeing the spin as he is chasing pitches no where near the strike zone. A vision issue? He’s showing signs of it..

      1. I’m sure they’ve checked his eyes. He’s just not watching the ball. He just seems to kind of guess once the ball is on the way. Roberts seems to have the same problem. He can’t see it neither.lol

      2. I think Belli is going through the hitter’s version of the yips.
        Suddenly last year, he couldn’t do something that came second nature to him. And now it has taken up residence in his head.
        The more he fails, the more pressure he puts on himself.
        Last year, when the playoffs came, he knew that absolutely nothing was expected of him offensively. That’s when he started producing. So maybe we just need to wait until he figures every person in the clubhouse has given up on him and then he’ll come around. Based on what he looks like, that timeframe isn’t too far away.

      3. Could be, but I would almost bet he is being talked to by his coaches and probably even Roberts every day. What I see is a huge hole in that swing and the propensity to chase that down and in pitch that he has never really been able to hit anyway. He also is getting behind in the count almost every single at bat. What we feel and what the team will do are two entirely different things.

      4. Chasing breaking balls out of the strike zone is, to me anyway, a pitch recognition problem. It suggests he’s not recognizing spin. Add to that he’s missing pretty much everything else it becomes a serious wtf problem. Hope they figure it out. As it is today he’s a huge hole in an otherwise stacked lineup.

      5. Jeff I’m not aware that hitters get the yips but I think the dodgers did him a great disservice last year by not sending him down last year to work on his obvious problems with no pressure. A lot of hitting is mental ( as someone has already noted) and he got worse as the year went on and the pressure on him had to be unbearable at times.

      6. How do you explain the turn around in the playoffs? If anything, the pressure was even worse at that point.

  8. He missed 162 games last year and we did pretty well but we had Reks, peters, Raley, Souza and Beatty to back him up. Ah the good old days.

  9. I’m not saying to bench belly, or trade him, I’m just saying he is as lost at the plate as a hitter can be right now, and the adjustments he is making, seem to be taking him in the wrong direction.
    I assumed he was close to being back to normal in the playoffs, and expected he would have his swing back together by the start of spring training, so I’m pretty surprised, he is worse not better. Not what I was expecting.

    1. One person, and the one that counts, does not agree with any of us. Roberts said in an interview, he is pretty sure it is all about his timing. And he is not worried because he, unlike us, sees the work he is putting in every day. I will defer to the manager, he knows a hell of a lot more inside info than I do.

      1. Yeah, ok. Let’s believe management. They would never mislead us.

        If he’s still a work in progress in two weeks Bellinger hits 9th. The lineup will be like having a pitcher who plays a pretty decent center field.

      2. Actually, you might say that’s the same subject, the awfulness of certain players.
        But, let’s remember, it’s just spring training. We all know that Heaney will win the Cy Young and Belli will be MVP.

      3. Just quoting what he said in the interview. He has more inside info than I do.

      4. Cy Young? More likely Heaney wins the Burt Young, the Paulie, given to the rockiest starter in the league. Bellinger gets the WIF Trophy. That’s self explanatory.

        If I had something better to do I’d go do it at this point. It’s a nice day. A walk in the park would be good for me.

      5. Yes, that’s only an average of 1 per inning, but comes out to an ERA of 9.00 no matter how you calculate it.
        I thought They overpaid for Heaney when he was signed. With his track record, well I’ll leave it at that.

      6. Heaney showed improvement today: first game 5 runs in 2.1 innings, today 5 runs in 3.0 innings. Going in the right direction.

        I found a way to calculate ERA that reduces today’s ERA to 3.00. Games are calculated at 27 innings instead of 9.

        Any other problems you need solved Gary? I’m here to help.

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