clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Dodgers notes: James Outman, Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

James Outman has been one of the most impressive rookies in baseball this season, yet not even his old high school coaches could’ve predicted him being a big league outfielder. A former standout linebacker in high school who averaged 7.3 tackles per game in his senior year, Outman was more viewed as someone more suited for the gridiron than he was for the diamond.

Since he built an athletic frame from football, his physicality eventually helped him transition into baseball full-time and propel through the Dodgers farm system, becoming a fixture within their lineup. Rowan Kavner of Fox Sports writes about Outman’s unlikely journey from a high school football prospect to being the current center fielder for the Dodgers, including the reactions that he’s received from his former high school football and college baseball coaches:

“‘I would say that I’m surprised,’ Patrick Walsh, Outman’s varsity high school football coach, said. But if this was happening for the New England Patriots or something, I would say I’m not surprised...’ ‘Am I surprised he’s the center fielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers? I mean, yeah, I am,’ [Reggie] Christiansen admitted. ‘But he’s always been that kid that just believes in himself … he’s so driven and focused to keep getting better, he’s not going to just be satisfied with where he’s at today.’”

The desire to continuously get better still resonates with the Dodgers center fielder, who has drastically improved his numbers after a dreadful two month slump. Outman now possesses a 120 wRC+ according to FanGraphs, and has led all of baseball in OBP since the All-Star break, ahead of MVP frontrunners Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuña Jr.