Dodgers rookie James Outman has hit a rough patch as of late. Following his impressive start to the 2023 season that earned him the National League Rookie of the Month Award in April, he’s encountered some major struggles in May.
This month, Outman is slashing just .179/.273/.328 with two home runs, eight RBIs and 27 strikeouts. He also has zero hits in his last 13 at-bats, six of them ending in a strikeout.
While it’s not unusual for a young player to face challenges, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts wants to try to help his rookie push through them. That’s why, on Wednesday, he made the decision to keep him out of the Dodgers’ lineup for a “reset” (per Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic).
“Resets are good,” Roberts said. “I think sometimes the thing with young players — and we’ve all seen it — things happen fast here. So where you just run them out there and turn a blind eye, it really spirals fast. So I think if you can get people out of that hot box for a little bit, it slows down. Hence the reset.”
While there are a few things slowing Outman down right now, Roberts did point to one specific area he thinks he can improve.
“He’s got to remember the big part of the field,” Roberts said. “Because he’s getting crowded. He’s trying to pull the ball too much. If he can get back to the middle part of the field, hit some line drives, some flares over there, I think things will get on track and then pull the off-speed pitches. He’s late on some heaters and out in front of some breaking balls.”
Now that Outman has been in the league for two months, the pitchers have scouting reports on him and have made their adjustments. They know that he can’t hit the high fastball, which has led to his high strikeout rate.
However, Outman will now have to adjust back, and find something that works for him at the MLB level. Roberts knows he can do it, and is hoping a couple days off can help him reset and get back to being his dominant, April self.